The photos on this page were taken in 2006, eight years after the filming on October Sky. We are standing on an abandoned slate dump that's got some tall grass growing on it.
Of course, in the movie, this was the slate dump where the Rocket Boys launched their rockets -- Cape Coalwood!
During the filming in 1998, this was a working slate dump for a working coal mine. At that time, there were well-maintained roads leading from the main highway (TN 62) to the slate dump. This made it easy for the film crew to get the cast, equipment and vehicles to the slate dump.
Since 1998, the coal mine has closed, and the property has been sold. The access roads have deteriorated, and it's hard to get to the site. (The owner of the property graciously took us in his four-wheel-drive vehicle.)
For all intents and purposes, the slate dump is on private property today and cannot be visited by the general public. However, if you drive north from Petros along TN 62, about four miles south of Wartburg, you'll be able to see the hills behind the slate dump on your right.