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REGISTRATION & PAYMENT REQUIRED: Once you've reviewed the event details, and decided you'd like to join us, you MUST sign up at the bottom of this page. This is a paid event with payment managed by the trip leader(s) and NOT the AOC. Please read the event description carefully for payment details and instructions.

Mt. Sterling Backpacking Trip

The Basics:
Event Type:Backpacking
Event Location: Mt. Sterling, NC (GSMNP)   Backpacking: Mt. Sterling Backpacking Trip  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Sat, Dec 12 2015  6:30 am >> Sun, Dec 13 2015 7:00 pm  (Carpool Departure: 6:45 am   *log in for location*)
Registration Opens: Mon, Nov 23 2015 8:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Thu, Dec 10 2015 8:00 pm
Event Duration:1 Days 12 Hours 30 Minutes
Difficulty Rating:D5: Difficult
Distance:12 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
Michael Johnson
Mike Pawloski
Email Trip Leader(s)
You must be logged in to get the Trip Leader contact information.
Member Cost:$5.00/Person (See Detailed Cost Info Below)

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:8
Minimum Group Size:3
Number Registered So Far: 8 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No


This is a challenging, but also very rewarding backpacking trip to the summit of Mt. Sterling. We will steadily climb along the Baxter Creek trail, culminating with 360 degree views of the Smokies from an old firetower. This is the highest back country camp in the Smokies at 5,842 feet above sea level. Even though it will be officially fall, at this altitude, we could and probably will have winter like conditions up there. 

Since the days are short, it will be mandatory to be in good enough condition to keep a good pace up the mountain with all your gear. We don't want to go searching for anyone in the dark!

This trip is not for the average or novice backpacker. The trail gains 4100 feet in only 6.2 miles! That's about the equivalent of hiking from the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the South Rim. The trailhead begins at the Big Creek picnic area. The water source is almost a 1/2 mile from the summit. Bring or plan on borrowing a water filter. We'll probably make it back to the Big Creek picnic area by 1pm on Sunday. We'll most likely stop in Waynesville for a late lunch, on the way back home.

The permit for this event cost me $32.00.  We will divide the cost among those of us who go on the trip. If you cancel at the last minute, forcing the remaining group to pay for your spot, well, you won't be around to defend yourself at the fire, so there's that.

Required Items to Bring:

1 lunch, 1 dinner, 1 breakfast, 2 liters of water.

See Event Checklists ("Backpacking").

Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.

On Sunday, you may want to bring some snacks for the trail. If the weather is nice, we won't be in a hurry to leave. Regardless, it's a nice long walk back down to the valley.

How to Get There:
Event Directions:

Carpool to Event Distance (round trip):400Mile(s)
Carpool Departure Time: 6:45 am
Carpool Location:   Log in for location
Carpool Directions:   Log in for directions
Carpool Cost: Estimated cost per vehicle for this event is $160.00 using a reimbursement rate guideline of $0.400 per mile. The total amount should be divided by the number of people in the vehicle, including the driver. This is a guideline, not a rule, for drivers but the cost should not be higher unless there are extenuating circumstances.


The Trip Leader(s) for this event has (have) elected to personally collect the funds that event participants are required to pay, or to require participants to pay funds directly to a third party.  No funds will be paid to the Atlanta Outdoor Club for this event.  Therefore, by registering for this event, you acknowledge and agree to the following: (1) the monies paid by registrants will not be monitored, managed, or otherwise accounted for by the Atlanta Outdoor Club; (2) that the Atlanta Outdoor Club bears no financial responsibility for this event; and (3) you waive any and all claims against the Atlanta Outdoor Club, and hold the Atlanta Outdoor Club harmless for the loss of any monies you paid for this event.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, any paying registrant may request directly from the Trip Leader, prior to the event, a breakdown of the funds collected, estimated expenses, and deposits made in anticipation of the event.  Following the event, the Trip Leader must complete his or her financial accounting for the event, and a paid registrant may request a breakdown of funds collected, money spent and supporting documentation after that time.  If you were unable to obtain requested documentation, please contact the Director of Paid Events.

Because of the difficulty of the hike to the summit of Mt. Sterling, I will call every potential participant to discuss whether this is an appropriate trip for you. Let me know if you need to borrow some gear - I can probably accomodate you.

* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

Member Cost:$5.00/Person
Cost Includes:

The permit for 8 cost me $32.00.  You will need to pay me the proportionate amount of the people who actually go on the trip.  Because people may cancel at the last minute, your cost may be more than $4.00, but I won't charge you more than $5.00.

Make a Payment:Although there is a cost for this event, you do not pay through the AOC. Please review the event details carefully for information about how/where to make your payment.

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.