Mount Cammerer via Appalachian Trail and Chestnut Branch Trail
This is a difficult out and back trail to Mount Cammerer in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Starting from the Big Creek Parking Area, you will ascend the Chestnut Branch Trail, following the creek for about half of the way. This was an old logging road, and you may see foundation walls and other artifacts from former residences along the way. The climb becomes a bit steeper before it brings you to the Appalachian Trail about 2 miles in.
It is a steady, but challenging climb along the AT to reach the side trail to Mt Cammerer. Along the way, you'll pass the junction to Lower Mt Cammerer Trail, which leads down to Cosby Campground, so be sure not to accidentally take it.
The 0.6 mile Mt Cammerer Trail has up and downhill sections, and some rugged rocky sections. At the end, mild rock scrambling is needed to get up to the iconic stone firetower with the panoramic views this hike is known for.
The hike begins near the parking area near the Big Creek Ranger Station. This is a medium-sized parking area with space for around a dozen vehicles. Note that it is a popular jumping on-off spot for AT through-hikers, which explains the presence of an actual payphone.
The Chestnut Branch trailhead is located slightly further up the road, on the right.
The Big Creek Campground is located about a mile further up the road, and it can be convenient to stay in conjunction with this hike.
This would be too rugged and challenging for most children. Some of the rocky cliffs near the firetower can be a hazard.