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Mount Sterling Trail

Difficult
 3.8 (11)

A short trail leading from a gravel service road directly to Mt. Sterling.


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Map Key

2.3

Miles

3.8

KM

Point to Point

5,668' 1,728 m

High

3,905' 1,190 m

Low

1,763' 537 m

Up

0' 0 m

Down

14%

Avg Grade (8°)

31%

Max Grade (17°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Spring · Wildflowers

Reservations must be made for backcountry campsites. For more information, the GSMNP backcountry office can be contacted at (865) 436-1297 between the hours of 8 and 5 Eastern Time. Backcountry permits can be purchased online.

Description

There's a fairly long gravel road that leads from the Big Creek Ranger Station southbound towards the Cataloochee Campground. Just about halfway along the gravel road is the trailhead for Mount Sterling Trail. It connects to Mount Sterling Ridge Trail and ascends to the summit.

About a third of the way in from the gravel service road is Long Bunk Trail, which heads south and connects to Little Cataloochee Trail.

Flora & Fauna

Flowering plants bloom between March and July. In the fall, leaves begin to change color around September and continue through November. Two of the most common trees in this area are the mountain laurels (Kalmia latinfolia) and umbrella magnolias (Magnolia tripetala). The flame azaleas atop Gregory Bald are especially beautiful, and can be found in full bloom from mid- to late June.

As for local fauna, black bears are common in the area, along with white-tailed deer and 31 species of salamanders.

For more information on black bears in the Smokies, refer to this webpage.

Birdwatchers can spot a variety of species, notably the northern flicker (Colaptes auratus) and red-eyed vireo (Vireo olivaceus).

Contacts

Shared By:

Max Willner

Trail Ratings

  3.8 from 11 votes

#5

in Cataloochee

#9168

Overall
  3.8 from 11 votes
5 Star
36%
4 Star
36%
3 Star
9%
2 Star
9%
1 Star
9%
Trail Rankings

#5

in Cataloochee

#327

in North Carolina

#9,168

Overall
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1,135 Since Sep 4, 2015
Difficult

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Photos

Starting the year off right with a New Year's Day hike.
Jan 1, 2016 near Cove Creek, NC
Camp 38
Jul 11, 2019 near Cove Creek, NC

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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All Clear 56 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Oct 18, 2020
Ross McKenzie
Apr 20, 2020
Zack Henderson
Sep 2, 2019
Paul Warner
2.6mi — 1h 35m
Apr 24, 2019
Jeremy Mason
Very steep and rocky from Mt. Sterling to Long Bunk. Definitely needed help from poles on this one, and glad we were going down. 1.8mi
Apr 10, 2019
buddy beavers
8h 00m
Nov 3, 2018
Shaun Anon
Apr 19, 2018
David Bell
Sep 24, 2017
Claire Humston