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blue Mount Sterling Ridge Trail


5.4 mile 8.7 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 716' 218 m
Descent: -572' -174 m
High: 5,682' 1,732 m
Low: 5,200' 1,585 m


Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 21% (12°)


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Trail shared by Max Willner

Mount Sterling Ridge Trail is accessible via many trails and offers a great view from the ridge.

Max Willner

Features 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…

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Jun 3, 2019
Kristen Wahlen
Apr 26, 2019
Jeremy Mason
From Pretty Hollow Gap to Mt. Sterling. End of a 7mile day, the last .4 seemed like they would never end. 0.8mi
Apr 10, 2019
buddy beavers
Apr 6, 2018
Amanda Houbre
Nov 11, 2017
John R
From Laurel Gap Shelter to Pretty Hollow Trail. Wonderfull trail following contours, several creek crossings, plenty of water. Easy to make good ti…
Jul 3, 2017
Brian Carpenter
had mostly downhill on the section i hiked from mt. sterling to pretty hollow gap 1.4mi
Nov 5, 2016
Dave Emery

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 3 votes


in Raven Fork


  4.3 from 3 votes
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