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The Hike

June 5, 2013

The AT doesn't really lend itself to loop hikes, but this hike with the inclusion of Snake Den Ridge Trail (up) and Low Gap Trail (down), provides a strenuous one-car outing on a little-used part of the AT. At hiker parking there's a map station to help with itinerary planning and usually a park volunteer who knows the trails and can answer questions or make suggestions. Both Snake Den Ridge and Low Gap Trails are steep and somewhat rocky; Snake Den Ridge Trail gains (or loses) over 3000 feet in 5.3 miles. This three-trail loop can be done as a long day hike or as an overnight at Cosby Knob Shelter (crowded in spring and on weekends; reservations required); coolster parts , the best way might be to camp at Cosby Campground (rarely crowded), and start early the next morning. The dramatic elevation change helps procrastinators - early summer at Cosby Campground can be pushed back nearly a month by climbing to the Smokies crest, which will still have cool weather and spring flowers. Social history features: Logging fire of 1925.

The AT doesn't really lend itself to loop hikes, but this hike with the inclusion of Snake Den Ridge Trail (up) and Low Gap Trail (down), provides a strenuous one-car outing on a little-used part of the AT. At hiker parking there's a map station to help with itinerary planning and usually a park volunteer who knows the trails and can answer questions or make suggestions. Both Snake Den Ridge and Low Gap Trails are steep and somewhat rocky; Snake Den Ridge Trail gains (or loses) over 3000 feet in 5.3 miles. This three-trail loop can be done as a long day hike or as an overnight at Cosby Knob Shelter (crowded in spring and on weekends; reservations required); the best way might be to camp at Cosby Campground (rarely crowded), and start early the next morning. The dramatic elevation change helps procrastinators - early summer at Cosby Campground can be pushed back nearly a month by climbing to the Smokies crest, which will still have cool weather and spring flowers. Social history features: Logging fire of 1925.

My sister and I did this loop in one night in the opposite direction, which I would recommend. Snake Den is pretty much straight down so I'm glad we didn't climb that incline. Most of the leaves were gone on the ridge line, which gave us some great vistas. Except for the cold and the snoring shelter mates, we had a great stay at Cosby Shelter. They have a great pulley system for hanging packs and there's a small spring next to the shelter. Even though my calves are still sore 2 days later, I would definitely recommend this hike.

We hiked this trail on 10/27/07. It took us 7.5 hours. We started at the Cosby Hiker Parking Lot and went on to the Snake Den Ridge trail, I can't say enough good about this trail, very enjoyable. The trail was moderatly steep but the increase in elevation was not that bad with the many switch backs. The trails were for the most part pretty level with very few rocks. The many species of hardwood trees was awesome with spectacular views of the fall colors. Seen the remains of the old plane crash after Inadu Knob. The views on the ridge after camel gap on the At were breathtaking.

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