The Smoky Mountain Field School opens its 2010 season on March 6-7 with an overnight backpack that combines a late winter and emerging spring experience.

“Mt. Sterling Firetower Overnight Backpack” begins off Old NC Highway 284 around 3,800-ft. at the east end of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and ends 2.7 miles later atop Mt. Sterling at 5,842-ft.

The course fee is $98 (non-refundable), and we’ve only got space for 4 more participants. Online registration is available.

The 60-ft. abandoned tower, completed in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, provides stunning 360-degree views on a clear day.

Though steep, the continuing rise in elevation from the trailhead to the summit is tempered by good footing found on the old roadbed. At 2.3 miles into the climb the trail levels out considerably as the final approach is made along the Mt. Sterling Ridge Trail.

Join your experienced winter hiking guides Joel and Kathy Zachry as they share interesting stories and useful tips on hiking and camping in the region.

The Smoky Mountain Field School is an educational partnership between Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Darrin Devault, UT Professional & Personal Development

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