Max Patch

Photo of Max Patch
Photo uploaded by JTM

Max Patch, a longtime favorite with AT thru-hikers and regional folks wanting to escape for a few sunny hours, is a superb example of that Appalachain anomoly-- the grassy bald. Although nobody is certain about the origin naked mountaintops (aboriginal practice of fire ecology, ice damage, invasion by gall wasps, and grazing pressure by bison and/or by Anglo livestock have all been theorized as potential points of genisis), we are all thankful for their presence in our densely forested hills (Southern Appalachia has no zonally occuring timberline). Max Patch, which is maintained in a grassy state by of periodic mechanical mowing, is readily acessible via dirt road (NC 1182) and by the Appalachian Trail. The view from the summit-- which is gained by one of those much-steeper-than-it-looks-from-the-trailhead type hikes-- is superb: at arm's length, the grassy earth falls away with 360 degree views just beyond; it seems a short stride would plummet you to the floor of the Tennessee Valley, onto the backbone of Bluff Mtn, or atop the steppingstone crest of Mt. Sterling. Roan Mtn and Mt Mitchell are also visible in the ultimate distance. With easy access, a short but steep hike, incomparable vistas, and excellent campsites, Max Patch is not just one of those rare, special spots that ranks on par with higher, wilder peaks; it is, in fact, one of those far rarer places that defines a class and category of its own.

Elevation (feet): 4,629
Elevation (meters): 1,411
Continent: North America
Country: United States
State: North Carolina
Latitude: 35.7969
Longitude: -82.9569
Difficulty: Walk up
Best months for climbing: Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov
Year first climbed: N/A
Nearest major airport: Asheville, NC. (AVL) or McGhee-Tyson, Knoxville, TN
Convenient Center: Hot Springs, North Carolina

Thanks to Travis Sutton Byrd for adding this peak.

Trip Reports

There are 14 trip reports for Max Patch.

  • Log #13393 - by Jean Harrington on Feb 20, 20043.00 stars
    What a beautiful place, even though it was very cold. Great place to wrap in a blanket with your Love!
  • Log #13394 - by Dale Kolsan on Feb 07, 20043.00 stars
    Max Patch Mountain certainly isn't easy to get to in a passenger car! Aside from the rough ride, the open meadows on the mountain were covered with flowers, and the 360-degree views of the Smokies,...
  • Log #13395 - by Judy on Nov 03, 20033.00 stars
    My family lived near Max Patch & the Salvation Army Chapel at Maple Springs in 1947-48. I had a great curiosity to see the area again. The fall weather was perfect, but I was cold with the harsh...
  • Log #13396 - by Colin Gallatin on July 09, 20033.00 stars
    One of the collest things i did while i was in east Tenn. was go to Halls top and Max patch. Ive been up twice since a buddy of mine works for Smokey Mountain Outdoors in hartford. Fortunately, I was...
  • Log #13397 - by JT Koffenberger on June 06, 20033.00 stars
    Wonderful hiking area with fantastic vistas and photo ops. Be sure to hike around the base for some in forest hiking as a break from the winds of the grassy tops.
  • Log #13398 - by patrick on Jan 27, 20033.00 stars
    OUTSTANDING. Temps in the high 20's, slight breeze, some deep snow on the back. The only downside was Max Patch was at the start of the hike and not the end!! I shall return!
  • Log #13399 - by Ross Nolan on June 09, 20023.00 stars
    What a wonderful place ! If the wind had'nt been gusting up to 50 mph I would have stopped for lunch on the top. Found a rock crop by the path, hid from the wind as much as I could and enjoyed a...
  • Log #13400 - by Travis Sutton Byrd on Dec 20, 20003.00 stars
    DRP and I went up and over while on an overnighter (we did the AT segment Max Patch into Hot Springs). This was a most enjoyable trip. The view from the summit was, as always (at least when it's...
  • Log #21398 - by Carolyn Large Wieland on Aug 25, 20083.00 stars
    My family moved to Spring Creek, NC in December 1949 when I was in 6th grade.Then we moved to Roaring Fork with I was in 8th grade before moving to Little Creek where we lived until I finished 11th...
  • Log #20428 - by Jess Mearns on Oct 08, 20063.00 stars
    Amazing!! Wish i had seen the sunset though from the summmit - it would have been a sight to see. But the fall colors and the view from the top was well worth the easy hike. Make sure you spend time...
  • Log #20926 - by Jamie on Aug 02, 20073.00 stars
    With such easy access I was totally shocked to only encounter 3 other people on the entire bald in the 3 hours or so I spent there. The views were awesome and I got some outstanding pictures. About...
  • Log #21248 - by Preston Sangster on Apr 12, 20083.00 stars
    The road up there was a little sleep, but the hike itself was okay. It's not too steep for someone that doesn't hike much to handle, but hardcore trailblazers will love it too. I recommend bringing a...
  • Log #21597 - by John Thomas Large on Feb 17, 20093.00 stars
    In the summers of 1952 through 1954, I was the unofficial gatekeeper for Max Patch. Hollis Rathbone, who looked after the property for the private owner of Max Patch at the time, gave me a key to the...
  • Log #22191 - by Larry on June 28, 20113.00 stars
    Max Patch Last week I spent a few days on the Appalachian Trail with some friends. Most days were very tiring for me as I hiked carrying more weight than necessary; not being conditioned for the...