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Max Patch

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This A.T. summit provides some of the best views in the southeast
Near:Hot Springs, NC
Distance:9.5 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:2422 ft
Hike Time:5.5 hours
Trail Condition:Well maintained trail
HikeType:Out and Back

Summary: There are many variations to enjoy Max Patch. We chose to hike from the lower loop of Max Patch to Lemon Gap and resting at the Roaring Fork Shelter for lunch. You could drive about 5 miles further past Max Patch parking area to reach Lemon Gap parking and start there and hike to Max Patch eat lunch on top of the world and hike back or to share just the views with those of ages 7 to 70 you could just hike the 1 mile loop trail. If you would like to introduce someone to hiking this trek from Max Patch to Lemon Gap would be great, except for the dramatic approach to Max Patch this section of the AT is mainly rolling soft hills that a novice hiker would not realize the 10 miles or so you would log at the end of the day. Once you reach the summit of Max Patch (hopefully a clear day) the 360-degree views will simply overwhelm you! Bring lots of film you'll be glad you did.
Trailhead: From Knoxville: I-40 East to Exit 7 Harmon Den (NC). Turn left at end of exit ramp onto gravel road. Follow this road for about 6 miles then turn left until it ends. Turn left onto Max Patch Road, the parking area is about 2.5 miles on right.
There is a loop trail of 1 mile just for Max Patch but to reach Lemon Gap use the left side of the loop and it will connect to the AT. Head Northeast on the AT for 4 miles to reach Lemon Gap or just short at Roaring Fork Shelter.
*****Pisgah National Forest*****
11/03 (Lat:35.79657 Lon:-82.96273)

Trail Guides for Max Patch:
Exploring the Appalachian Trail: Georgia North Carolina Tennessee (Exploring the Appalachian Trail)
by Doris Gove (Stackpole Books)

White Blaze Fever
by Bill Schutte (

Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers,
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Bobby Trotter, who has posted  74 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews  Page 1 of 3   Submit your own review
Reviewed by Amy and Dan on 11/4/2010
We parked half way up the gravel road & walked the remaining distance to the summit and followed the AT trail partway down. This was the highlight of our week in the mountains. Better than the Parkway in a way as you can see every direction and take in the beauty. We were the only people there for the most part on October 26, 2010. Take a jacket as it is breezy. I can't wait to return and hike up a different way on the AT trail. Stop along the gravel road and enjoy the stream and little waterfalls. Perfect!

Reviewed by Allison on 1/15/2010
Absolutely the most astounding sunrise you will ever see. Once you hike up once, you'll want to do it again and again.

Reviewed by tdm on 12/2/2009
this is as good as it gets any time of year

Reviewed by ranger ed on 10/6/2009
Hiked about 35oo miles on the A.T. (7 yrs ) Max Patch is always a favorite. No one can describe its beauty. Done it in fair weather and in a blizzard. Always awesome. Talk about on top of the world. Yes...Yes...Yes..Can not wait to go back....Again...again...again...AND again.

Reviewed by GWL on 9/20/2009
Hiked from Lemon Gap to Max Patch 9/19/09. Had to soak in hot tub to revive (novice hiker). Views made up for aches. I don't know how anyone can do this hike with a full pack, with the slick roots and fallen trees blocking the path. Most people should hike up from Max Patch parking lot.

Reviewed by RB&DB on 8/31/2008
this is one of the great things that nature has to offer everyone and it is free.i am so greatful that the amount of money that you have in your pocket has no control over who gets to use this wonderful place in nature

Reviewed by bb on 7/31/2008
Warning: do not go on this hike unless you enjoy switch back roads and dirt gravel roads that seem to go on for ever. There are no gas stations along this long windy road. You can get views on the blue ridge parkway which is much easier to get to.

Reviewed by MG on 11/13/2007
Breathtaking perspective. Dress warm; hat a must. Envied the campers. Spend as much time at the peak as you can.

Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: North Carolina Hiking, North Carolina Trails, North Carolina Hikes, Madison County Hiking, Madison County Trails, Madison County Hikes

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