Setting near Hot Springs, North Carolina, in the Pisgah National Forest is a 4,600-foot bald mountain promptly named Max Patch. It is famous the world over for its 360-degree view and a small trail you may of heard of, the Appalachian Trail. In the early 1800’s it was cleared to make room for a pasture; today, it is a highlight along the Appalachian Trail and a prime spot to come visit and have a picnic. Max Patch is a must-see, and it offers some incredible views of the area. Autumn is the prime season for visitors, but spring and summer can be very busy as well.
On the eastern side of the summit, you can see Mt. Mitchell on a clear day – the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi River. The Smoky's also dominate a portion of the view, especially since they are only 20 miles away. Among the tall grass, wild flowers grow en masse, making for ideal photographic opportunities. Elk can also be seen here from time to time, grazing down along the lower meadows.
Coming into the Pisgah National Forest, you will have to carefully watch where you are going. Signage is lacking along the gravel road. There are a few makeshift signs people have put up to help direct you to Max Patch: Just keep an eye out for them. The road is fairly bumpy the whole way, and there is a small parking lot, but expect it to be full. Most people park along the road and walk back to the trail-head.
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