This trail splits off of Little Cataloochee Trail
(at 4.1 miles) and heads for the Mount Sterling Trail
. From here, runners can choose to run the awesome Mt. Sterling Loop (Big Creek / Baxter Creek)
. Running up to Mt. Sterling is highly recommended if you have the time, as it's one of the highest firetowers in the Smokies and offers some exceptionally awesome panoramic views.
Shortly into the trail, runners will come across the Hannah Cemetery. There are roughly 50 graves, with some as recent as the year 2000. About a half mile in is a former homesite from the early 1900s.
About 2.9 miles into the run, the trail begins to follow a ridge known as Dude Branch. This ridge has a lot of beautiful, large oak trees. At 3.2 miles, the trail then shifts to follow the Correll Branch ridge.
At 3.7 miles, the trail comes to its terminus at Mount Sterling Trail
. Mount Sterling is just 2.3 miles to the west, and definitely worth the extra mileage.
The Smokies are home to more than 1,600 species of plants, most of which produce an abundance of flowers in the spring. These species include mountain laurel, rhododendron, azalea, and many others. Spring wildflowers peak from early April through late May. To learn more about the plants of the Smokies and even get a trees and shrubs checklist, visit the park's website
As for local fauna, black bears are common in the area, along with white-tailed deer and 31 species of salamanders.
Birdwatchers can spot a variety of species, notably the northern flicker (Colaptes auratus) and red-eyed vireo (Vireo olivaceus).
For more information on black bears, refer to this webpage