Help keep our trails and parks open during COVID-19 by committing to social distancing. Some trails or park services may be closed this weekend so check with local authorities before heading out.
Learn more

Mount Sterling via Mount Sterling Gap

hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(113)
Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Mount Sterling via Mount Sterling Gap is a 5.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Cosby, Tennessee that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 5.1 miles Elevation Gain: 1,935 feet Route Type: Out & Back

camping

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no dogs

As of Feb 24, 2020, users have reported that there are temporary closures in this area. Please consult the park's website before visiting.

hiking
bridge out
bugs
muddy
washed out
5 days ago

Supper muddy, holding through a river for some of it, trail is under construction. It’s used for horse packing and it’s worn the trail out.

hiking
20 days ago

Absolutely gorgeous views! As others said, a consistently steep climb. Went on 6/13 and the gate was closed on the road up to the trailhead which ended up making it a 10 mile RT hike.

hiking
closed
4 months ago

Update as of 2/22/19 the trail is closed for some reason, beautiful trip up though

hiking
5 months ago

Recommend higher clearance vehicle to get to the trailhead. I enjoyed this hike, lots of up up up but it was over with pretty quickly (steep but short). Too bad the fire tower was socked in the day we went, but I would hike this trail again to try to catch a great view.

hiking
6 months ago

Log road to fire tower, boring trail w mediocre views

Great trail. Loved the cardio climb to the tower. Can’t think of a better way to spend my 48th birthday

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

if your looking for a hike to kick your butt this is one of them. From the start, up, up, and up. We were expecting a little clearing to see the tower before we got there but there wasn't. Be careful as others have said about the road going up, alot of blind curves and narrow road.

The drive up to this hike is a skinny 6 mile back-country road, it’s pretty bumpy and has a lot of blind turns so drive carefully. Being Nov 9th, a lot of the trees had already lost much of their color. The trail was covered in leaves so it was kind of slippery, and there were also A LOT of large loose rocks which made the steep elevation a little more tricky, especially going down because it’s very difficult to get sure footing. Our GPS clocked about 6.5 miles to get to the firetower and back. Nice views from the top but it’s a little rickety and not somewhere you want to spend a lot of time. Overall decent hike, but definitely bring your hiking poles and wear good boots.

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

Very challenging cardiovascularly on the way up. On the way down, footing is the challenge due to loose rocks. It was a very colorful hike and the view from the top is worth it. Because many trees are already bare, there are distant views before getting to the tower which are encouragement along the way. 10/10 recommend if you have forgiving joints.

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful trail that leads to a gorgeous view at the top. Hiking boots are a must in my opinion, as the trail can be very rocky and footing can be unsteady. Hiking poles would probably be a good idea too for coming back down. The trail is moderately challenging but very rewarding.

Great day for the hike. Trail was in surprisingly good condition considering all the rain the night before. I had proposed to my wife on top of the tower over 12 years ago. So we went back today to celebrate my 40th bday. Had the whole peak to ourself for well over an hour, and enjoyed a nice picnic and peaceful nap. Definitely not for young kids. Glad we pushed through and made more memories.

hiking
8 months ago

The hike from mt stering gap is 2.2 miles. I’d rate it moderate. It took my 1hr40min to reach the tower from start. The view from the tower on Mount Sterling is one of the best in the park. You can see 360°. At 6000 ft up your way above the clouds. It’s magical looking down at the top of cloud layer covering the valley. Great campground on the crest of the mountain.

hiking
rocky
washed out
9 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

Great little trail - took around 2.15hrs up and down, not including time to chill at the top. Firetower is awesome - not being good with heights it was a lil nerve-wracking. Makes for some awesome pics too. Only downside is the drive in 6 miles on a gravely road.

hiking
11 months ago

Cool fire tower at the top.

hiking
11 months ago

Amazing view!

hiking
Wed May 29 2019

Steep steady climb with a nice view at the top. The gravel on the bottom half of the trail took away from the experience a bit. Try to go early morning before it gets to hazy to see the view.

Awesome trail. Really challenging for me personally because I’m really out of shape. But the fire tire at the top is beautiful and a little terrifying. Will be back for sure

hiking
muddy
Thu Feb 21 2019

Great view at the fire tower on the top!

hiking
muddy
rocky
snow
Sun Feb 03 2019

Expect up hill the entire way. The trail was well cut in but the day I hiked was during a warm spell after a previous snow. The views are well worth the struggle to the top. Absolutely beautiful place!!! You should be in decent shape or plan for a lot of stops.

hiking
Thu Jan 10 2019

Great hike with a scenic reward!!!

Showing results 1 - 23 of 113