360 degree vistas of Great Smoky Mountains and Black Mountains.

Max Patch Mountain was once cleared for pasture land, leaving an expansive flat summit that now serves as the ideal location for a picnic hike, flying a kite, or laying in the sun surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains. With little elevation gain and a short distance it is also very family (and dog!) friendly.

A section of the Appalachian Trail crosses right over the bald so keep an eye out for rugged looking looking backpackers who are tackling the AT trek. This also means there is potential to camp/backpack this area, although not on the Max Patch bald itself. Take the AT in either direction and you'll find places to camp without going more than a mile or two.

To find the trailhead from Asheville, head out of town on NC-63 W. Drive 31 miles, turn right on NC 209, staying on for a 1.7 miles then making a series of quick turns; left on Caldwell Mountain Road; right on Meadow Fork Road; left on Little Creek Road; and finally a right onto Max Patch Road. A couple miles up Max Patch Road, look for a large parking lot on the right side of the road. There is an obvious trail leading away from the road and up to Max Patch Mountain.

Pack List

  • Hiking shoes
  • Picnic supplies
  • Camera
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RT Distance 3 Miles
Elevation Gain 350 Feet
Activities Chillin, Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area
Scenic

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

breathtakingly beautiful!

this has got to be one of my favorite places to camp. it's not a long or strenuous hike to the top so you can bring more comfort items! the view from the summit is absolutely unforgettable! you can get an amazing sunset and sunrise all in the same campsite because of the 360 degree view from you there. it is a rough road up however so make sure to drive something capable to handle the gravel road.

Quick jaunt to open skies

This is a very quick hike from the parking area (very different than arriving via the AT) - the elevation is intense for just a moment before you crest onto the bald and then the views hit you. 360 degrees of rolling mountains, right in the middle of the Appalachian Trail. Take a picnic or a kite. Camping is allowed here - just be sure to get to your spot early before other campers arrive - and be prepared to hike to dig your cathole. Bring warm clothes. If you come during winter months, don’t be disappointed if there’s a surprise snow that blots out your view - the whiteout is another staggering form of beauty to take in.

Amazing camping

Max patch is for sure my favorite place to go and camp because no matter what time of year it is you can always enjoy the absolutely beautiful view from the top.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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