Max Patch

Waynesville, North Carolina 28786

Max Patch

Max Patch Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Make an easy circuit through and around this former mountaintop pasture, now a protected meadow with superlative views, known as being the “Grandstand of the Smokies.” First, take the Max Patch Loop Trail, traversing the western slopes opening into Tennessee.

Take the short side trip to the 4,629-foot summit of Max Patch, soaking in 360-degree panoramas. Trace the AT northbound into highland forests. Return to the trailhead in a field and forest menagerie, soaking in more highland panoramas."

More Max Patch Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Best Hikes with Dogs: North Carolina (The Mountaineers Books)
Karen Chavez
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"If Max Patch (4629 feet elevation) is not the ultimate hiking destination for dogs, then it comes pretty close. One of the obvious signs is that just about every other hiker comes to the mountain with her dog. And this is not an easy place to reach. Deep in the Harmon Den area of the Pisgah National Forest near the Tennessee border, the only direct access is on miles of unpaved Forest Service roads. Yet on any given weekend throughout the year, the dirt trailhead parking area is filled to overflowing, a testament to the alluring, unique beauty of Max Patch." Read more
Best Dog Hikes North Carolina (Falcon Guides)
Melissa Watson
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"From the moment you stand at the foot of Max Patch, to the time you reach the top, you’ll be in awe of the stunning views around you. The dogs enjoy running free while you take in the scenery. The trail is extremely popular among dog owners. On any given day you’ll see several dogs romping around on the summit. It’s truly a slice of doggy heaven on Earth. While the dogs enjoy making new friends, you have the privilege of hiking on the Appalachian Trail." Read more
Five-Star Trails-Asheville-2nd Edition (Menasha Ridge Press)
Jennifer Pharr Davis
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"Make an easy circuit through and around this former mountaintop pasture, now a protected meadow with superlative views straddling the state line with Tennessee. First, the Max Patch Loop Trail traverses the western slopes opening into the Volunteer State. Take the short side trip to the 4,629-foot summit of Max Patch, soaking in 360-degree views. Trace the Appalachian Trail (AT) northbound into highland forests. Return to the trailhead in a field and forest menagerie, savoring additional highland panoramas." Read more
Best of the Appalachian Trail Day Hikes (Menasha Ridge Press)
Leonard M. Adkins & Victoria and Frank Logue
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"The Trail gently climbs up the side of the mountain to the treeless summit of Max Patch. There is an outstanding panoramic view of the Blacks, Balds, Balsams, and Great Smokies from this southernmost bald mountain on the A.T. On a clear day, you can see the highest point in the eastern United States, Mount Mitchell (elevation 6,684'), to the east. In the spring, there are many wildflowers in bloom along this section of trail. From the trailhead, hike north on the A.T. and pass over a stile. Enter the woods and descend 0.1 mile to a small creek, which is the head of the West Fork of Little Creek. Begin to ascend, slowly at first, and cross a gravel road at 0.4 mile. At 0.5 mile, the Trail climbs Max Patch on log steps cut into the hillside and then crosses the grass to the broad summit of the mountain (elevation 4,629') at 0.8 mile." Read more
Best Hikes of the Appalachian Trail South (Menasha Ridge Press)
Johnny Molloy
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"Make an easy circuit through and around this former mountaintop pasture, now a protected meadow with superlative views, known as being the Grandstand of the Smokies. First, the Max Patch Loop Trail traverses the western slopes opening into Tennessee." Read more
Birding North Carolina (Falcon Guides)
Edited by Marshall Brooks and Mark Johns
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"Max Patch Road represents a mix of old fields, hillsides and pastureland, fast-moving streams, a grassy bald, and mixed forests, culminating in Max Patch Bald. Elevation ranges from 1,900 feet at the Interstate 40 end of Cold Springs Road to 4,629 feet at Max Patch Bald. Max Patch Road traverses Pisgah National Forest, and the Appalachian Trail crosses the road. Prior to reaching the national forest, the road winds its way through farmland, hilly pastureland, old fields, and second-growth forest. Habitats: Grassy balds, old fields, pastureland, hardwoods and mixed conifer-hardwood forests, streams, rhododendron thickets. Key birds: Summer: Broad-winged Hawk; Ruffed Grouse; Great Crested and Least Flycatcher; Eastern Kingbird; Winter Wren; Veery; Golden-winged, Yellow, Chestnut-sided, Hooded, Canada, Black-throated Blue, Blackthroated Green, Blackburnian, and Worm-eating Warbler; American Redstart; Grasshopper Sparrow; Scarlet Tanager; Rose-breasted and Blue Grosbeak." Read more

Max Patch Reviews

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9/18/2018
Great enjoyable easy hike.
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8/17/2018
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7/18/2014
Max Patch is an easy trail, more of a stroll really. It must be seen at sunset. We arrived right after a rain storm and were greeted by a rainbow to the east and a gorgeous sunset to the west.
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10/10/2010
This is like a giant field in the sky. Nothing like it!! Well worth the drive.
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11/21/2009
Max Patch is always a wonderful hike and the views are hard to beat. You have an unobstructed view in all directions and the stars are amazing at night. I hiked from Max Patch to Lemon Gap and back (about 12 miles) and finished the hike in the dark (which is always fun.) I'd recommend this hike and recommend backpacking. There are some sites at both ends of the trail.
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2/25/2009
Nice short day hike. Easy elevation gain and loss even water available near a couple of different camping sites. Fantastic panoramic view!!
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Max Patch Photos

Trail Information

Waynesville
Nearby City
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Accessibility
2.7
Distance
Loop/Lollipop
Trail Type
Moderate
Skill Level
1.5 hours
Duration
Year-round
Season
Views, Wildflowers
Features
Pisgah National Forest, Appalachian Ranger District, 632 Manor Rd., Mars Hill, NC 28754, (828) 689-9694, www.fs.usda.gov/nfsnc
Local Contacts
National Geographic #782 French Broad & Nolichucky Rivers, Cherokee and Pisgah National Forests; USGS Lemon Gap
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018