Cosby Knob

Location: Western North Carolina
Trip Starts: Cosby Campground
Trip Ends: Cosby Campground
Total Distance: 7.4 miles
Hike Type: In & Out, Backtrack Hike
Hike Difficulty: Difficult
Trails Used: Appalachian Trail, Low Gap Trail (II)
Trail Traffic: Light
Trip Type: Day or Overnight Hike
More Information:

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
107 Park Headquarters Road
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
(865) 436-1200


The Great Smoky Mountains get more annual visitors than any other National Park in the U.S. Surprisingly, most people never see the backcountry which has some of the most pristine wilderness in the Southeast. This hike to Cosby Knob starts in Tennessee at Cosby Campground and climbs Low Gap Trail for close to 2000 feet over 2.9 miles. The grade ascends about 500 feet every half mile.

To reach Low Gap on the Appalachian Trail, you have two options from Cobsby Campground. You can start at the hiker parking area near the amphitheater and follow Cosby Creek for roughly the first half mile, or you can walk through the campground and connect up with the Low Gap Trail. Either way, the climb begins the minute you leave the trailhead and switches back over a series of ravines that drain from the ridge.

Once on the ridge, we took a right when the Low Gap Trail met the Appalachian Trail and followed the A.T. for 0.9 miles to Cosby Knob Shelter. The ascent is another 500 feet, and the shelter sleeps 12 and has an open porch area with seating. A fire ring sits just down the hill in a 15′ x 10′ grassy area. A spring 5 yards from the shelter provides water for the site.

GPS Coordinates:


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