Mount Sterling


We spent our honeymoon here; this place has made for the best honeymoon ever!

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The grounds here are gorgeous! Biltmore is a must to see, Chocolate Fetish truffles were amazing…worth the money. Also Luella’s BBQ was amazing ~ get the sweet potato appetizer…yummy!

We will be back!

Chris & Shanna (Kingsland, GA)

A Smoky Mountains firetower classic
12.2 miles: Difficult

Despite all of the great hiking right outside Asheville, many visitors can’t resist the urge to drive to nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park, just one hour away. The Mount Sterling hike has become a favorite for several reasons.

First of all, getting to the trailhead does not require driving on the congested Newfound Gap Road, the main corridor of the park. Instead, hikers sneak into the northeast corner, driving barely 10 minutes off Interstate 40 before they hit the trailhead.

The Baxter Creek Trail slowly meanders up the side of Mount Sterling Ridge, passing by cascading creeks with mossy rocks and tunneling through dense groves of rhododendron. When hikers finally summit 5,842-foot Mt. Sterling, a fire tower greets them. Climb the stairs for spectacular views from this historical relic, built in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

On the trail

From the Big Creek ranger station, head south through the picnic area on the gated gravel road that leads to the Big Creek and Baxter Creek trails. The Baxter Creek Trail heads off to the left. This trail leads directly to Mount Sterling, with no trail junctions.

Driving directions

From Willow Winds, take Interstate 40 to exit 451, turning left off the interstate ramp. Follow the signs for Waterville and the Big Creek ranger station.


Staying at Greg’s Cabin at Willow Winds proved to be a great choice. I loved having my green tea in the morning on the outdoor balcony looking out at the Tulip trees and listening to the sounds of the fountains. The location was perfect: close to the Blue Ridge Parkway, Downtown Asheville, and the Airport. There is so much to do here in this beautiful and majestic landscape!

Judi Irons (Scottsdale, AZ)

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