Length: 1.0 miles Rating: Strenuous
This moderate high ridge trail descends 900 hundred feet over 6 miles. The descent is steady from the Mt. Sterling Firetower to Pretty Hollow Gap. The trail climbs steeply out of the gap and follows the relatively level ridge to Laurel Gap. The campsite near here (Mt. Sterling Campsite #38) is heavily used and there always seems to be a resident bear nearby. The campsite has been recently moved away from the fire tower and closer to the water source. If you climb Baxter Creek Trail from Big Creek to Mt. Sterling, the side trail to the water source is about 0.25 miles from the summit.
Directions: On US-276 before it’s junction with I-40 (exit 20) in Cove Creek, turn North on Little Cove Rd. (SR-1331). Drive 1.3 miles and turn right on Old NC-284 (SR-1395), also called Cataloochee Rd. Go 1.1 mile up stream from the ranger station.