Looking for a Smoky Mountain trail the really gets your heart and leg muscles going? Look no further than the Baxter Creek Trail – a 6.1 mile rocky trail that goes no where but up. Get your good fitting boots ready and stretch those quads because this trail will make a man, or woman, out of you.
The trail starts out at the Big Creek Picnic area at the Big Creek Campground in Newport, TN and travels upward to the junction of the Mount Sterling Trail and Campsite #38. A handful of logging companies used the land over the course of a century to 1930s with various degrees of success. Still, the mountain’s steep grade seemed to have its way with most as each eventually abandoned its efforts.
The trail starts off at the Big Creek Picnic Area before crossing a metal bridge over Big Creek. From there, the trail begins to rise and you’ll notice a large island in Big Creek to the right. You’ll encounter number tree and wildflower species along the trail from toothwort to the American beech before moving through forests of hickory, maple, and dogwood. A side trail leads to a large stone chimney at 0.3 miles.
You’ll hear Baxter Creek before coming to a large Eastern hemlock with a number of branches on its lower trunk. The trail is becoming narrower, rockier, steeper, and at times more hazardous at this point as you approach Baxter Creek again. This is where the climbing really begins and doesn’t end till you reach the fire tower. Eventually you’ll reach a small ridge overlooking Big Creek Valley where you can see Mount Cammerer.