Roan Highlands
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Max Patch Mountain via Brown Gap – Pisgah National Forest, NC

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
7.1 mls N/A
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
3 hours and 30 minutes with 45 minutes of breaks
2,061 ft
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Park where the Appalachian Trail crosses FR 148A at Brown Gap. 35.77318, -82.9957

By Trail Contributor: Zach Robbins (Contact Zach)

Max Patch Issues 2 Year Camping Ban until July 2023 - Press Release

Max Patch Mountain, simply known as Max Patch, is hands down one of the most beautiful summits in the Southeast. The massive grassy bald is meticulously maintained by mowing and prescribed burns to preserve stunning 360° views of the tallest Appalachian peaks. You can drive close to the summit on the gravel SR 1182, which is popular but sometimes difficult to reach during the winter after snowfall. You’ll also never be alone using this option, it is common to see more than one hundred people at the top. For a longer day consider this hike beginning at Brown Gap in the Harmon Den Wildlife Management Area of Pisgah National Forest. Deep in this secluded backcountry you won’t see many people until you approach the destination.

Initially you’ll follow the Appalachian Trail northeast through hardwood forests along gentle 4,000-foot ridges. Max Patch Mountain at 4,629 feet is not close to being the tallest peak in the region, but you are surrounded by countless 5,000- and 6,000-foot peaks in every direction. The Unaka, Black, Great Balsam, Plott Balsam, and Great Smoky Mountain ranges are home to the highest peaks in the East and can all be seen from Max Patch. You’ll be tempted to spend hours here soaking up the incredible views, and there is no better place for a picnic and a nap.

Mid February
Max Patch Hike Comments
Archived Comments

By: Zachary Robbins Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 1, 2019
I hiked this from the opposite direction. Max Patch was beautiful but very crowded as expected on a holiday weekend. Fair warning, expect big crowds on nice weekend days even in winter if there's no ice on the road. There were at least 15 tents and over 100 people on the summit in the middle of the day. And if you decide to drive to the summit don't be an amateur and park halfway in the road or try to drive up to the main parking area if you see a line of cars already parked. The traffic can be really bad, with little room to drive or turn around. That's why I added this hike so you don't have to suffer through that mess. Do yourself a favor and visit Max Patch on a weekday if possible.

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