Cosby, Tennessee, is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Cosby lies roughly 23 miles from Gatlinburg and is most easily reached by following Parkway East out of Gatlinburg, the exit is at traffic light #3. The drive is nothing short of breath-taking. Miles of beautiful scenery. The National Park is on the right hand side all the way to Cosby. On your way keep your eyes open for other points of interest like the Greenbrier area of the national Park. After the drive, when you arrive in Cosby, you will find yourself in a traditional small mountain town. Once called the "Moonshine Capital of the World" Cosby has slowed down quite a bit and has become a wonderful stop during your vacation to the Smokies.
Cosby is located in Cocke County, Tennessee. The first settlers to this area arrived in the 1780s. This encroaching of European settlers angered the Cherokee who had been using the land for thousands of years. The settlers eventually erected a fort in the area that would become Cosby. After recovering from the Civil War, Cosby benefited from the lumber boom in the southern Appalachians. Mills in Newport and Big Creek brought jobs and boosted the economy in the area. Most residents of Cosby were farmers or worked in the lumber mills. Families supplemented there income by distilling corn liquor harvesting plants, such as ginseng, out of the mountains. With the Great Depression, some of the mills shut down and the farmers had a hard time selling their crops. To make ends meet, families lived off the land and some even started “moonshining.” With the establishment of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park the economy in Cosby and other small mountain towns started to rebound. And while only part of Cosby was incorporated into the park, the part of the town that was left has become a small mountain town that thrives on the people visiting the national park.
Besides the National Park, Cosby has a lot of things to do. You can visit a working apple orchard, go horseback riding, hike a trail in the mountains or attend one of the numerous events that are held in Cosby each year. Carver's Orchard is a fully functional apple orchard, growing more varieties of apples than anyone else in the southeast. They also have a farmers market and some of the best apple pies in the area. The horseback riding and hiking is second to none. Also, because they are not in the middle of the more visited areas, you can bet on having some of the time to yourself and your companions while you are on the trails. The events in Cosby run the gambit from festivals celebrating the Ramp (a mountain grown delicacy) to Under the Apple Trees a play that celebrates the apple orchard in the history of the National Park (part of the 75th Anniversary of the National Park).
Cosby has a small town feel and that is the type of food to expect as well. From Carver’s Orchard to the various roadside restaurants there is plenty to eat in Cosby. The food is good and truly shows off the small mountain town. Highly recommended are the fruit pies from Carver’s Orchard or just buy a selection of their apples either way you will leave happy.
There are a lot of lodging choices while you are visiting the Smokies. From hotels to motels, from B&Bs to cabins, your options are not limited. Cosby, and 321 leading to Cosby, is home to some of the most beautiful cabins in the Smokies. You really get the feeling of staying off the beaten path. The cabins give you the feeling of being off by yourself while still providing all the amenities of home and more. Grand views, plenty of room, well appointed, great amenities and of course a great time with your family all rolled up in choice of cabin. Cosby also has several Bed & Breakfasts, hotels and motels. Cosby is completely different than the more touristy areas of the Smokies and is a terrific place to spend your vacation.
Cosby Campground is inside the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. 165 camp sites, hiking trails and picnic areas. Big enough for large groups to take advantage of, but small enough for you to feel like you have found a secret in the Smokies. Streams and wildlife abound in the North eastern corner of the park.