Our trips to Max Patch in Western North Carolina have been amazing. Out of the 4 years Nicole went to college at UNC Asheville, we never knew of this place. If we did, we would have probably gone every other weekend. If you haven’t been to Max Patch and live close to WNC, you need to check it out.
On Top Of The World At Max Patch
Max Patch is a bald mountain near the North Carolina-Tennessee border with amazing views of the surrounding area. Usually, when you think of the mountains you think of a thick forest. However, these mountain balds don’t have any major trees on them and are grassy with some shrubs. Approximately 200 years ago, farmers cleared Max Patch for pasture land. Now we get to enjoy the spectacular views!
First Trip to Max Patch
Our first trip to Max Patch was just the two of us and the girls, Storm and McCartney. I don’t think Elliott was even born at that time. We went in the Fall and having unobstructed views of the autumn mountains was simply amazing. Max Patch is deep in the Pisgah National Forest. Make sure to look up directions before you go because your GPS or phone might not work. The service is very spotty in this neck of the woods.
The Winding Dirt Roads
Be warned, there are some narrow and curvy dirt roads to get to Max Patch. Don’t be surprised if someone flies up on your bumper. Just find a pull off or keep going at your own pace. Some people just get impatient driving, so don’t let them ruin your trip. Chances are even if they do pass you, you will still be at the destination around the same time!
Traveling is an Adventure
Our adventure to Max Patch take around 3 hours to drive from our house and that can go smoothly if dogs want to cooperate or slow if they don’t, Nicole isn’t usually a problem because she will just take a nap! We usually drive most of the way and stop at a nearby rest stop to let the dogs get out and stretch their legs. As crazy as it seems, the dogs like sniffing around the rest area.
After loading them back up, we head to the exit to get to Max Patch, the road quickly turns into a dirt road. We love rolling the windows down to smell the mountain air! This is where Elliott seems to awaken from his laziness and he begins sniffing. The last time that we went, he started barking as we were driving up the dirt road. There must have been a good scent that made his nose go wild.
Watch Out for Wildlife
Always be on the lookout for wildlife when you are on your adventures, you just never know what you might see. You know deer and bears roam in the high country, but did you know there are elk around too?
There Goes an Elk!
On one of our recent trips, we were driving up the dirt road and I heard something stomping through the trees on the side of the road, guess what an elk ran out in front of the car like he owned that mountain.
I guess technically he did, he never even looked back at us as he continued his journey up the mountain. Wildlife can make these adventures even more enjoyable as long as you keep your distance and don’t disturb their natural habitat. Boy would Elliott have been worked up considering he doesn’t even like horses!
You’ve Arrived at Max Patch
When you get to Max Patch area on this dirt road, according to the day you go, it could be extremely crowded. There is a small parking area, but people park along the sides of the road outside the parking area. There are multiple trails at Max Patch with one being the Appalachian Trail. We usually choose the steep trail that leads straight to the top of the mountain.
The Actual Hike
I would say the path of least resistance but I would be lying if I didn’t say it was somewhat strenuous and with 3 dogs trying to sniff every square inch, it can be downright tiring! However, once you get to the top you will see your efforts were well worth it. Of course on the weekends, you will see lots of people at the top and doing all sorts of things like flying kites, taking pictures or just sitting and enjoying the view.
Different Times of Day
We have been thinking about taking a sunrise or sunset trip out there, but willing to leave early in the morning has been hard because we would have to leave so early. So in the near term, a sunset trip will be more likely. Of course with me, I love the view and I love taking pictures of our 2 doodles and a basset on what seems like the top of the world.
Back Home Again
After allowing our dogs to sniff and see all the people and surroundings, they are mentally drained for the ride back home. We know that our dogs have enjoyed the trip when they want to rest easily on the way home. Of course, the second we step in the door at home, the dogs get a little hyper and have the zoomies.0