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Mount Sterling Trail

Intermediate/Difficult

Trail

2.3 mile 3.8 kilometer point to point
59% Runnable
Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 1,763' 537 m
Descent: 0' 0 m
High: 5,668' 1,728 m
Low: 3,905' 1,190 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 14% (8°)
Max Grade: 31% (17°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Trail shared by Max Willner

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

Max Willner

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).

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Trail Ratings

  3.8 from 9 votes

#5

in Cataloochee

#7847

Overall
  3.8 from 9 votes
5 Star
33%
4 Star
44%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
11%
1 Star
11%
Trail Rankings

#5

in Cataloochee

#289

in North Carolina

#7,847

Overall
21 Views Last Month
792 Since Sep 4, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

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

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