Max Patch Mountain (3-21-13)
Max Patch Mountain, at 4,627', isn't the largest of mountains, even for the Southern Appalachians. However, its broad open summit commands unobstructed views of many, if not most, of the highest peaks in the region. Located just inside the border with Tennessee Max Patch sits just east of the Great Smoky Mountains. It's wide open lawn has been attracting visitors since the 19th Century, and for good reason. However, modern improvements in transportation and ease of access have boosted visitation here to the point that Max Patch could easily be loved to death if not for the protection of the forest service. Today, around five miles of trails surround the summit which is crossed by the Appalachian Trail itself. If you decide to visit PLEASE stick to the marked trail as off trail travel can destroy sensitive vegetation which, in turn, could cause severe erosion. With that, lets hit the trail...
NOTE: Many visitors fail to look at the map under the parking area kiosk, which clearly denotes the area trails, and simply head straight up the summit lawn along an apparent but false path. THIS IS NOT A TRAIL and is very damaging to the peak and the environment. PLEASE don't be one of these ignorant people...take a minute to read the map and follow only the designated trails!
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 35.796444, -82.962596
Hike Length: 3.0 miles Hike Duration: 1:30
Trailhead Temp: 25'F
Min. Elevation: 4,100' Max. Elevation: 4,629'
Total Vertical Gain: 700' Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 233'
Trails Used (blaze color): Appalachian (white), Buckeye Ridge (yellow), Max Patch Loop (unblazed)