Mount Cammerer was named for Arno B. Cammerer, Director of the National Park Service (1933–1940) and an instrumental figure in establishing a national park in the Great Smoky Mountains. Before its renaming, Mt. Cammerer was known as "White Rock," referring to the bright white rocks that burst through the treeline at the summit. On some North Carolina maps, Mt. Cammerer is called "Sharptop". At least one story tells of a lightning blast that cut a hole in the summit, leaving a pool of water that attracted ravens.
Throughout the late-19th century and early 20th-century, moonshining was rampant in the area around Mt. Cammerer, as what was then a virgin wilderness provided the perfect cover for the illegal stills. Most residents in the area, however, were law-abiding mountain farmers, as described in local resident Mary Bell Smith's In the Shadow of the White Rock. Ella Costner, designated by the state of Tennessee as the "poet laureate of the Smokies," was born in the area of what is today the Cosby Campground, at the base of Mt. Cammerer. In 1934, the Civilian Conservation Corps built a camp at the base of the mountain, and constructed most of the trails and overlooks in the area.
The lookout at the summit of Mt. Cammerer was built by the CCC in 1937, using nearby rock and timber (other materials had to be hauled up the mountain). The tower was manned by a fire ranger until the 1960s, after which it fell into disrepair before being restored in 1996.
Hiking Routes --
The quickest route to the summit of Mt. Cammerer is to ascend the Low Gap Trail from the Cosby Campground to the Appalachian Trail at Low Gap. From Low Gap, it's just over two miles to the Mt. Cammerer Trail, which follows the ridge a half-mile or so to the summit. The total distance from the Cosby Campground to the summit is just over five miles.