“Mount Sterling Ridge Trail is accessible via many trails and offers a great view from the ridge.”
— Max Willner
Birding · Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Mount Sterling Ridge Trail begins at Laurel Gap Shelter and heads east, ending at Mount Sterling Gap. To the west, the trail connects perpendicularly to Balsam Mountain Trail
. To the east, hikers will come to a 4-way junction from which they could take Swallow Fork Trail
to the north, continue on to Mount Sterling Trail
eastward toward Mount Sterling Gap, or head south on Pretty Hollow Gap Trail
. Long Bunk Trail
can also be accessed if hikers pass the 4-way junction and continue east.
Mount Sterling Ridge Trail from Laurel Gap has a fairly significant elevation increase, but the views from the ridge are well worth the effort on the way to the Mount Sterling Firetower. This trail is part of the Mt. Sterling Loop Big Creek / Baxter Creek.
Flora & Fauna
As with any trail in the Smokies, you might see black bears. There are abundant salamanders (31 different species) in the creeks. Spring wildflowers peak from early April through late May along the entire route, with some later blooms at the higher elevations.
For more information on black bears, refer to this webpage:nps.gov/grsm/learn/nature/b…