Length: 5.0 miles
This strenuous creek headwater trail is 5 miles long and rises 2,300 feet, connecting Cataloochee Valley and Mt. Sterling Ridge. The lower end of the trail follows the beautiful Pretty Hollow Creek, which is easily viewed from the old roadway. There is a magnificent stand of huge hemlock at the last crossing (a log bridge), about 3 miles from the trailhead on Cataloochee Road. Local lore say there is a fantastic section of virgin forest up Cook’s Creek, but the only trail is a rough fisherman’s path. After that last stream crossing, the trail becomes very muddy. There are several 100-yard sections of deep mud that must be conquered before reaching the gap.
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.