The Cosby Experience in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Cosby Experience in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is perfect for those who are looking for somewhere a bit off the beaten path and away from the big crowds in the park. Nestled on the northeastern side of the Smoky Mountains, Cosby is a great destination for hikers, cyclists, campers, horse lovers, and the locals!

cosby-mt-cammerer-kirkendal-spring-photographers-heysmokies

The Historic Fire Tower atop Mt. Cammerer (Photo: Kirkendal/Spring Photographers)

Great Hikes in Cosby

Cosby Nature Trail – 1 mile roundtrip
This is a terrific one-mile long nature trail beginning at the Cosby Campground near the outdoor amphitheater. A great little walk through a bit of old-growth forest, which Cosby Creek runs through, is magical any time of the year.

Hen Wallow Falls – 4.2 miles roundtrip
Hike to Hen Wallow Falls on Gabes Mountain Trail which begins across the road from the Picnic Area just before the entrance to Cosby Campground. One of the main highlights of this trail is the big trees of the old-growth forest.  A spur trail steeply descends to the right at mile 2.1 to lead to the base of the waterfall. Use extra caution when stepping on the slippery rocks.

Mt. Cammerer Fire Tower – 11 miles roundtrip
This strenuous hike begins on Low Gap Trail located near the designated parking lot for hikers near the Cosby Campground Picnic Area. Low Gap Trail, which is horse-friendly, climbs steeply for 3 miles before intersecting with the famous Appalachian Trail (AT). Take a left on the AT towards the Mt. Cammerer Trail. At almost the 5-mile mark, you’ll find the spur trail that leads the summit of the 4,928 ft. tall mountain. From here, it’s about seven-tenths of a mile to the historic fire tower with views of the beautiful Pigeon River Gorge.

Sutton Ridge Overlook – 3 miles roundtrip
The hike to Sutton Ridge Overlook begins on Low Gap Trail for about four-tenths of mile to intersect with horse-friendly Lower Mt. Cammerer Trail. At about mile 1.4 mile you’ve reached the overlook. Lower Mt. Cammerer Trail continues on to access backcountry campsite #35 and then on to intersect with the Appalachian Trail.

Poet Laureate of the Smokies & WWII POW Ella V. Costner Gravesite – less than 1 mile roundtrip
The graveyard is accessed via Snake Den Ridge Trail that begins near Campsite B-55 at Cosby Campground. The trail begins as an old road and after three little creek crossings you’ll see the small graveyard on your right. Costner (1894-1982) was born in Cosby and grew up on Crying Creek near the Gabes Mountain Trailhead. After her stint as an Army nurse in Pearl Harbor and Guam, she returned to Newport, Tennessee and published several books of poems and essays. For more information on Ella V. Costner, check out her Facebook page!

Great Camping in Cosby

The Cosby Campground in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is huge with 157 campsites for tents and RVs up to 25 ft. in length. There is an amphitheater, restrooms with potable water, and a dump station. All but 26 sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis even on holidays. The remaining sites can be reserved by calling 423-487-2683 or visiting Recreation.gov. Cosby campground is open from early to mid-April through October. The great thing about camping in Cosby is that the campground is rarely full!

Cosby Campground also has a large picnic area with 30 picnic tables, a pavilion, and restrooms.

Cosby Campground is located 21 miles east of Gatlinburg, TN off of Highway 321 and is 64 miles north of Asheville, NC.

Great Cycling in Cosby

Cyclists will appreciate the light traffic on the 2-mile long paved entrance road to Cosby and the campground loops. Unfortunately there are no trails open to bicycles in the Cosby area. However, the eastern section of the Foothills Parkway is minutes away off of Hwy. 321 and is a must-see for both cyclists and motorists.

Cosby History

The Cosby watershed has been a land in transition for the last two centuries. Once this fertile and forested land was a sacred hunting ground of the Cherokee. With the coming of the Europeans the land was taken, settled and cleared, like most of the Smoky Mountains. The remoteness of this land made it ideal for the production of moonshine when the federal government passed the prohibition laws of the early 20th century. At one time Cosby was considered the “Moonshine Capital of the World!” The fame of the region for moonshine was short lived when barely 100 years after the forced relocation of the Cherokee, settlers found themselves being evicted to make way for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

More Hey Smokies Features:

Biltmore Estate Chihuly Glass Exhibit
Biltmore Estate Chihuly Glass Exhibit...
Biltmore Estate Chihuly Glass Exhibit. Chihuly glass creations brighten the day and light up the night during Chihuly at Biltmore. Famed glass [Read More >>]
Back Porch Old Time Music Jam
Back Porch Old Time Music Jam...
Back Porch Old Time Music Jam at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center Saturdays at 1:00 p.m. June 16th; July 7th and 21st; August 4th and 18th; and Se[Read More >>]
National Park Hosts  Appalachian Women's Work Event
National Park Hosts Appalachian Women's Work Event...
National Park Hosts Appalachian Women's Work Event. Great Smoky Mountains National Park will host the annual Women’s Work Event at the Mountain [Read More >>]
Stars shine bright in Dollywood during 2018 Season of Showstoppers
Stars shine bright in Dollywood during 2018 Season of Showstoppers...
Stars shine bright in Dollywood during 2018 Season of Showstoppers. Dollywood’s 33rd season kicked off with an amazing array of entertainment e[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Service Day Volunteers Needed
Smoky Mountain Service Day Volunteers Needed...
Smoky Mountain Service Day Volunteers Needed.  Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials are excited to announce the popular “Smokies Servic[Read More >>]
Grandfather Mountain Slates Rhododendron Ramble
Grandfather Mountain Slates Rhododendron Ramble...
Grandfather Mountain Slates Rhododendron Ramble. Grandfather Mountain is set to showcase the iconic plant that ushers summer into the mountain’s[Read More >>]
Dollywoods Aunt Granny's Restaurant Serves Good Eats
Dollywoods Aunt Granny's Restaurant Serves Good Eats...
Dollywoods Aunt Granny's Restaurant Serves Good Eats! Dollywoods Aunt Granny's Restaurant partners with Lodge Manufacturing Company and announce[Read More >>]
20th Annual Sevier County Relay for Life
20th Annual Sevier County Relay for Life...
20th Annual Sevier County Relay for Life slated for Saturday, June 2, 2018. The Annual Sevier County Relay for Life, which celebrates cancer sur[Read More >>]
Clingmans Dome Observation Tower Closes
Clingmans Dome Observation Tower Closes...
Clingmans Dome observation tower closes. Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced that the Clingmans Dome Observation Tower will [Read More >>]
5 Great Smoky Mountain Fathers Day Ideas!
5 Great Smoky Mountain Fathers Day Ideas!...
5 Great Smoky Mountain Fathers Day Ideas!  Fathers Day in The Great Smoky Mountains is right around the corner on Sunday, June 17, 2018. The Gre[Read More >>]
Second Annual Appalachian Bear Fest
Second Annual Appalachian Bear Fest...
Second Annual Appalachian Bear Fest is scheduled for June 2, 2018 from 11 a.m. til 3 p.m. at the ABR Visitor and Education Center, 121 Painted[Read More >>]
Five Great Smoky Mountain Fishing Spots
Five Great Smoky Mountain Fishing Spots...
Five Great Smoky Mountain Fishing Spots. Smoky Mountain Fishing is one of the most popular activities in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Th[Read More >>]
Blue Ghost Fireflies Near Asheville
Blue Ghost Fireflies Near Asheville...
Blue Ghost Fireflies Near Asheville just minutes off the Smoky Mountains sister national park, the Blue Ridge Parkway. Blue Ghost Fireflies cas[Read More >>]
Cades Cove Car Ban
Cades Cove Car Ban...
Cades Cove Car Ban begins Wednesday, May 9, 2018. Cades Cove Loop Road will be closed to motor vehicles from sunrise until 10:00 a.m. on both We[Read More >>]
Rockin' The Commons
Rockin' The Commons...
  Rockin' The Commons is sure to be a blast. The first Sevierville Commons Arts Councils capital campaign fundraiser will be a rockin' goo[Read More >>]
Sevierville hosts 14th Annual Bloomin' Barbecue and Bluegrass
Sevierville hosts 14th Annual Bloomin' Barbecue and Bluegrass...
Sevierville hosts 14th Annual Bloomin' Barbecue and Bluegrass. Load up the family and your appetites and come downtown Sevierville Friday,May 18[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Synchronous Firefly Dates Announced
Smoky Mountain Synchronous Firefly Dates Announced...
Smoky Mountain Synchronous Firefly Dates Announced. Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have announced the dates for firefly viewing i[Read More >>]
Shine And Dine On Bruce
Shine And Dine On Bruce...
Shine And Dine On Bruce, or Cinco In The City, is an amazing day showcasing local food and live music in downtown Sevierville, Tennessee on May [Read More >>]
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Cades Cove Clean Energy
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Cades Cove Clean Energy...
Smoky Mountains National Park Cades Cove Clean Energy. The new solar array in the Cable Mill area of Cades Cove is up and running! The new gree[Read More >>]
Gatlinburg Dining
Gatlinburg Dining...
Gatlinburg dining is always a special event in the Smoky Mountains! Gatlinburg is home to fabulous food. Whether your taste runs from home-cook[Read More >>]