Max Patch Short Loop
ElevationAscent: 242' 74 m
Descent: -249' -76 m
High: 4,605' 1,404 m
Low: 4,363' 1,330 m
GradeAvg Grade: 6% (4°)
Max Grade: 22% (12°)
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“A popular route for hikers and stargazers alike - at 4600', this bald spot offers excellent views.”— Max Willner
Family Friendly The loop around Max Patch is fairly easy to traverse, and the expansive bald offers a great place for a picnic with a 360-degree view.
Max Patch is part of the Bald Mountains Range. At the summit (roughly 4600') visitors can see the Unakas to the north and the Great Smoky Mountains to the south, with the Great Balsam and Black Mountains to the southeast.
This is also an ideal location for stargazing. There are multiple campsites in the nearby forest, and it's a short journey to get back to the summit.
From Hot Springs follow Hwy 209 South. Turn right onto Meadow Fork Road at the Max Patch sign. Turn right onto SR 1181 and follow the signs to the parking lot.
Directions via I-40 from Asheville: Take I-40 West about 40 miles to exit 7 (Harmon's Den). Take a right on Cold Springs Road. This gravel road leads to SR-1182 (Max Patch Rd). It's recommended that drivers take a 4WD vehicle in inclement weather, as handling may prove difficult. Turn left and drive 1.5 miles to the Max Patch parking area on the right.
Latitude: 35 46' 49.44" / Longitude: -82 57' 12.6"
This is also a great location for birding enthusiasts; such species include but are certainly not limited to: Black-throated Blue Warblers, Black-throated Green Warblers, Blackburnian Warblers, Blue-headed Vireos, Brewster's Warbler, Canada Warblers, Chestnut-sided Warblers, Dark-eyed Juncos, Golden-winged Warblers, Goldfinches, Red-Winged Blackbirds, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Scarlet Tanagers, and Yellow-breasted Chat.
The bald was once used as an airstrip in the 1930s, where biplanes provided scenic rides for tourists.
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Land Manager: USFS - Pisgah National Forest, Pisgah Ranger District