Mount Sterling Loop via Baxter Creek and Big Creek Trails

1 review #4 hike out of 494 in
16.7 mi
8 hrs 11 min
4,094 ft
Elev Gain


This is a difficult loop trail to Mount Sterling with its steel fire tower. It is best done as a one or two night backpacking hike.

This enjoyable and varied trip goes by Midnight Hole, Mouse Creek Falls, Brakeshoe Spring, Campsite 37, Mount Sterling, and Campsite 38. It takes in waterfalls and forest before climbing to Mount Sterling Ridge in the cool high country. The decent on the Baxter Creek Trail falls over 4000 feet which is one of the greatest elevation changes of any trail in the Park.

Getting Started

From I-40 take Tennessee exit 451 and follow signs for Big Creek. Upon entering the Park follow the narrow dirt road to its end at a large parking area. The signed Big Creek Trail leaves from the access road just before the picnic area. The return route enters the picnic area across the footbridge from the parking lot.

Taking Children

This is a difficult hike and is not recommended for younger children. Even older children should be in good shape and experienced hikers.

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Public Tracks

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GreatFlembino 1 year, 8 months ago
Big Creek Loop, Mt. Sterling, Smokies (3/23/18)
Beautiful loop trail in the Eastern Smokies. Peak at Mt. Sterling and hike along many beautiful creeks and rivers. This is a challenging, but very worthwhile hike. We camped at site 37 and Mt. Sterling Peak. 37 Was beautiful and both camping areas had plenty of space.
sdflkj99 1 month, 1 week ago
blurobin9 2 months, 1 week ago
rafender 4 months ago
tpf 5 months ago
theron.stancil 1 year, 5 months ago
isignaslily 2 years, 3 months ago
rliuzza 2 years, 3 months ago
Brandon Berg 2 years, 4 months ago
Chris Matos 2 years, 6 months ago
Chris Matos 2 years, 7 months ago
Dan Riffle 3 years, 5 months ago