Located in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Mount Cammerer, formerly known as White Rocks was named after Arno Cammerer who was a former director of the National Park Service. Atop Mount Cammerer a magnificent lookout tower was constructed which hosts an incredible panoramic view of the surrounding mountains (on a clear day). The surrounding rocks on the summit provide a spectacular place to rest and enjoy lunch.
Getting to the proper trailhead that meets your time schedule is a must. Getting lost trying to find the trailhead dampens the spirit and creates unwanted frustration. Hiking and climbing are supposed to be relaxing. Due to the fact there are multiple ways to get to a trailhead, I have attached a link below that will serve you well. Drive safely!
There are several trails one can take to reach the summit of Mt. Cammerer. Listed below are some common way to reach the summit:
1. Starting at the Big Creek Ranger Station, locate the Chestnut Br Trail trailhead (walk toward the campground). Follow the clearly marked trail approximately 2.1 miles until the trail intersects with the Appalachian Trail. From there, follow the AT westerly for approximately 1.0 mile. There the AT intersects with the Lower Mount Cammerer Trail. Staying on the AT, walk 2.3 miles westerly until you reach the Mount Cammerer Trail. Turing right, follow the trail northbound for approximately 0.6 miles, there you will reach the summit.
2. Starting at Cosby Ranger Station/Campground, locate and follow the Lower Mount Cammerer Trail easterly for approximately 7.4 miles. After the trail intersects with the Appalachian Trail, turn right (westerly) and follow the AT for approximately 2.3 miles until you reach the Mount Cammerer Trail. Turing right, follow the trail northbound for approximately 0.6 miles, there you will reach the summit.
3. Starting at Cosby Ranger Station/Campground locate and follow the Low Gap Trail for approximately 2.5 miles. After intersecting with the Appalachian Trail, turn left and follow the AT northeast for approximately 2.1 miles until the trail intersects with the Mount Cammerer Trail. Follow the Mount Cammerer Trail northbound for approximately 0.6 miles, there you will reach the summit.
4. Starting at the Big Creek campground, locate the trail head for the Big Creek Trail. Follow the Big Creek Trail southwest for approximately 5.1 miles until the trail intersects with the Low Gap Trail. Follow the Low Gap Trail northeast for approximately 2.5 miles until you reach the intersection for the Appalachian Trail. After intersecting with the Appalachian Trail, turn left and follow the AT northeast for approximately 2.1 miles until the trail intersects with the Mount Cammerer Trail. Follow the Mount Cammerer Trail northbound for approximately 0.6 miles, there you will reach the summit.
A trail map and general road location map can be located at:
Great Smoky Mountain National Park Trail Map
There are no permits or fees required to hike Mount Cammerer. However, if you plan to stay at one of the nearby backcountry shelters (Cosby Knob or Davenport Gap) or a rationed camp site, you will need to make reservations. You can make reservations by calling 865-436-1297 or 865-436-1231 during normal business hours. Reservations are free.
While camping, please follow the parks recommendations for proper food storage and cooking. Black Bears, native to the park, can be unpredictable and dangerous.
When To Climb
As with any expedition (large or small) your personal safety as well as the groups should outweigh any potential risk. Keeping in mind your own skill level as well as others that may be with you, Mount Cammerer can most likely be climbed during any given season.
Gauging my own experiences, late spring, summer, and early fall would be much less difficult to climb than the colder months. Rain, sleet, ice, and snow can make fallen tree limbs, rocks, and roots slippery and cause unexpected falls.
As usual, wear comfortable boots or shoes (if you prefer) and bring plenty of water to drink. I would also recommend you bring something to eat on the trail and at the top to replenish your body for the hike down.
Due to the changing weather conditions, bring the proper clothing.
Backcountry camping is allowed, however there is no camping permitted inside the summits fire tower.
Refer to “RED TAPE” for camping permit requirements.
Knowing mountain conditions prior to your hike could be the difference between a successful summit climb and an unsuccessful summit. Even though mountain conditions can from change hour to hour knowing pre-climb/hike conditions is crucial.
These web sites may assist you in planning your trip:
Great Smoky Mountain National Park Weather
The Mt. Cammerer page is in need of pictures. It was snowing, raining, and sleeting the day that I made the summit. Please contribute.