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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 (plus Mt. Cammerer) Great Smoky Mountain National Park -RESCHEDULE

The Basics:
Event Type:Backpacking
Event Location: Mt. Sterling, NC (GSMNP)   Backpacking: Mt. Sterling (plus Mt. Cammerer) Great Smoky Mountain National Park -RESCHEDULE  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Sat, May 18 2019  6:30 am >> Sun, May 19 2019 8:30 pm  (Carpool Departure: 6:45 am   *log in for location*)
Registration Opens: Thu, Apr 25 2019 8:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Thu, May 16 2019 8:00 pm
Event Duration:1 Days 14 Hours
Difficulty Rating:D6: Advanced
Distance:21 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
Michael Johnson
Mike Pawloski
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Member Cost:$4.00/Person (See Detailed Cost Info Below)

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:8
Minimum Group Size:2
Number Registered So Far: 8 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No


This route is a little different than our usual route so please take note below.

This is a challenging, but also very rewarding backpacking trip to the summit of Mt. Sterling. We will steadily climb 6.2 miles along the Baxter Creek trail, gaining 4100 feet in elevation, 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. At this altitude, the conditions could still be cold even in April. Yet the chances of viewing the blooming spring flowers are very good!

The almost full moon will rise at 9:39pm, about 1.5 hours after sunset, so if the skies are clear, Mt. Sterling will be basking in the moonshine. I will most certainly climb the fire tower to enjoy the views of the surrounding mountains and enjoy the moon rise!

On Sunday we will break camp early enough to get started on the next leg of our journey. Instead of going back down the way we came, we will backpack almost 15 miles back to Big Creek. We will also include a 1 mile round trip hike to Mt. Cammerer. That will actually help loosen you up for the last leg of backpacking. And the view from Mt. Cammerer is beautiful. The last leg of the trip back takes us down Chestnut Branch trail, where in April, on a previous trip, I saw more wild flowers than almost anywhere else. We will slow down a bit to enjoy the scenery here. But due to the length of the trail we will have to maintain a moderate pace most of the time, so you'll have to be in very good condition. I am personally training for backpacking in the Cascades this summer.

During that 15 mile route back to Big Creek, we will drop from almost 6k, down to Walnut Bottom at just shy of 3k'. Do the math, that's a drop. Then we will go back up eventually to just over 5k', so that's another over 2k' elevation gain, then continue down the rolling ridgeline on the A.T. before dropping down Chestnut Branch trail to Big Creek.

I tentatively plan to stop to eat in Waynesville on the way home, so if you don't want to stop arrange it at the carpool. 

The permit for this camp site cost $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. It's not for the fair weather hikers. We will only cancel if the weather is horrible all weekend. A spring shower is always possible, but that won't warrant cancellation.

Required Items to Bring:

2 lunch, 1 dinner, 1 breakfast, 2+ liters of water, with a means to replenish on the trail.

See Event Checklists ("Backpacking").

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

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.

Due to the difficulty of this trip, if you haven't done a trip with me at this level, please reach out to me to convince me you're not only prepared, but you're a good fit with this group. We only want team members who can play well with others, since we're all out here to enjoy ourselves together.

(Thanks to Bob Bunner for the initial additional notes, I've made some additions/revisions at the end. mjj)

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

Member Cost:$4.00/Person
Cost Includes:

The total cost is only $32.00, so we will split the cost among the attendees.

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.