Mount Sterling Road Professional Reviews and Guides
"This steep trail starts high and get higher, as it enters spruce, fir forest, culminating atop 5,842-foot Mount Sterling. A fire tower stands atop the mountain, where those who climb its heights are rewarded with an eye-popping 360-degree view of the Smoky Mountains and beyond.
Anytime the skies are clear is a good time to go to Mount Sterling, with its fire tower affording a 360-degree view. Winter can be windy and snowy. Also, Old NC 284 can be closed during inclement weather. Spring has clear periods. Summer can be hazy and stormy. Autumn is a great time, with clear skies and fall colors."
--Johnny Molloy, Top Trails: Great Smoky Mountains National Park - 2nd Edition (Wilderness Press).
"This Great Smoky Mountains National Park hike begins at high and historic Mount Sterling Gap, then climbs higher to enter the rare spruce fir forest that cloaks only the highest mantles of the Southern Appalachians. The ascent tops out at 5,842-foot Mount Sterling, where a preserved metal fire tower delivers unparalleled 360-degree views of the Smokies in the near and range after range in North Carolina and Tennessee."
--Johnny Molloy , Best Hikes Near Asheville, North Carolina (Falcon Guides).
"At 5,842 feet, the top of Mount Sterling is adorned with one of only two original fire towers that hikers can climb to capture panoramas above the treetops. And the views from the spruce–fir high country of Sterling are limited only by the weather. The hike begins at Mount Sterling Gap and follows a short but sloping old jeep road to Mount Sterling Ridge and the high country. From the ridgetop, a short climb takes you to the tower."
--Johnny Molloy, Day & Overnight Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Menasha Ridge Press).
The first mile of this trail was the easiest with the remainder of the trail being a constant steep incline, rock covered trail, with the exception of some flat areas near the top that were up and down. I would rate this trail moderate to strenuous. We went 10/2/07 and beacuse of the drought any water was all but dried up. For the most part this trail was boring. With out a doubt the view from the tower was spectacular but this was the only redeeming quality of this trail.
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