Cosby Entrance

Cosby Description

Cosby is a wonderful, less visited area of the Smoky Mountains. If you want to get away from the crowds and find a peaceful picnic area and campground with great hiking trails and some of the best wildflower viewing in the Smokies, then Cosby is the place to go. Located on the northeast corner of park, Cosby is about 20 miles east of Gatlinburg. The large campground never fills up, and no reservations are required, making Cosby the perfect place to go when other areas are full. Cosby also has a large picnic area which is rarely crowded. Several hiking trails start in Cosby, from the easy Cosby nature walk to the difficult hike to the restored Mount Cammerer fire tower.

Best times to visit

  • Cosby is one of the best places to view spring wildflowers. Peak months for wildflowers in Cosby are March and April.
  • Cosby is one of the least busy areas in the park, making it a great place to visit in peak tourist times such as during the leaf changing season in mid to late October or weekends in the summer.
  • Cosby Weather

    Click for Cosby, Smoky Mountains Weather Forecast

    Best Hiking in Cosby

    Cosby offers several wonderful hiking trails which tend not to be as crowded as trails near some of the more popular areas in the park.

    • The Cosby Nature Trail is an easy 1 mile walk on a shaded trail that crosses several footbridges. The trailhead is located just past the picnic area.
    • The hike to Hen Wallow Falls on the Gabes Mountain trail is a moderate, 4.4 mile roundtrip hike to the falls. The trail passes through old growth forests and also highlights many wildflowers in the spring. The trailhead is located near the Cosby picnic area.
    • The Mount Cammerer Fire Tower provides one of the best views in the Smokies. The hike to the tower is a difficult 11 mile round trip on the Low Gap trail. The trailhead is located at the top of the Cosby campground near the ampitheater.

    Picnicing at Cosby

    Cosby in the Smoky Mountains Picnic Area Cosby has a large picnic area with picnic tables and grills. There is plenty of parking available. Since Cosby is not very busy, you will generally have no trouble finding open picnic tables. Restrooms are available in the picnic area and in the campground. A pavilion is available for large groups. The pavilion can seat about 55 people and has 3 grills. The pavilion can be reserved at the www.recreation.gov.


    Restrooms with running water and flush toilets are available in the picnic area and in the campground.

    Directions to Cosby

    From Gatlinburg, take U.S. Highway 321 for 19 miles to Cosby. Turn right on to Highway 32 and go 1.5 miles to a road on the right marked "Cosby Campground".

    Driving Directions:
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    Recommended Reading

    100 Hikes in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most informative books available about hiking in the Smokies. It gives detailed information about many of the hiking trails in the park.
    Wildflowers of the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains A beautiful wildflower guide with many full page full color pictures. The pictures and informative descriptions help you identify wildflowers in the Smokies and surrounding areas.
    Great Smoky Mountains: A Vistor's Companion describes and illustrates in full color dozens of plant and animal species in the Smokies, including a wide variety of birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, mammals, and plants. It also explores the park's geology, climate, and history.

    For More Information

  • Smokies Bookstore
  • Greenbrier

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