Hike from Max Patch to Hot Springs, N.C.

Added by Steve Yocom

Distance: 12.5 miles. Duration: weekend (1-2 days). Elevation gain/ loss: -2145 ft. Amazing views of the entire valley. High-grass and wildflowers along your entire journey. Hot springs reward at the end.

Make a weekend trip from Max Patch to Hot Springs N.C., and be sure to soak in the natural hot springs at the old inn after your hike! This is an incredible, relatively easy hike with the reward at the end being hot springs on the French Broad River. You can break this up however you like, this is just a general list.

From the trail to the first spot you can camp, you will see a blue-blazed trail which leads to a spring and a campsite (with room for 2 tents - 35.876232, -82.862267). The next morning you will pass the Gragg Gap (named after a small cemetery with two grave sites for George Gragg and Eva Gragg). You will also see the Deer Park Mtn. and views to the South of Spring Creek Valley. After stopping for lunch you can either set up camp, again room for 2 tents (35.889267, -82.843285), or cross the stream and set up camp there (only room for 1 tent - 35.832867, -82.937218).

The next day you will see partial views of Max Patch Mtn. to the south, Walnut Mountain Shelter; Walnut Mtn. and the Walnut Mountain Trail (#135), this blue-blazed trail on the right leads to spring water. Finally you will see the Kale Gap leading to a side trail to the east with a campsite with room for 3 tents (- 35.838215, -82.926987).

Next on the trail, you will see Bluff Mtn. at the switchbacks to the east you will see a trail to the south that leads to a spring and the trail continues on the middle path towards Deer Park Shelter, old jeep road and a campsite (room for 2 tents) and a tiny stream crossing.

The side trail to the west leads to another campsite (room for 1 tent) with great valley views and the intersection with grassy road and a campsite (room for 3 tents). From here an old double track will take you to the Garenflo Gap. If you keep walking you will see 3 log bridges and continue on to the Taylor Hollow Gap and views to the southwest and views of Lamb Mtn. to south-southeast (there may be a piped spring (might be dry).

Finally the Hot Springs at French Broad River...hooray, you made it.

From Hot Springs, NC, Take US 70 S and turn left onto Upper Shutin Rd. Continue on Wolf Creek Rd. for 2.5 miles. Turn left onto TN 107. Trail will cross the road in 1.8 mi.

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Tags

Photography
Backpacking
Hiking
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Hot Springs
Romantic
Scenic

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This Section is Closer to 20 Miles

This is a great weekend section, but it's much closer to twenty miles than 12.5.

Gorgeous

Trails heads are well marked, but the drive up the mountain is treacherous. My friend and I drove up the mountain expecting to camp and hike to the summit. We ended up getting there just before sunset, so we opted to drive straight to the summit. From the parking lot to the top of the mountain is .5 miles of incline. Camping is not permitted on the summit (even though there were tons of people doing it), but there is a campground across the street from the parking lot. The VIEWS were incredible! Also, lots of AT hikers were passing through so we all got to swap stories. Pretty cool.

Not very accurate trail description

This is a good description of the 12.5 miles from Max Patch to Garenflo Gap. The problem is that it is another 6.6 miles from Garenflo Gap to Hot Springs (3.4 miles from where the description ends to Deer Park Shelter and then 3.2 miles to Hot Springs). It is a good hike, but actually 19 miles, not 12.5 miles.

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