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Thread: Max Patch, NC

  1. #1
    Registered User
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    05-29-2021
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    Providence, RI
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    Default Max Patch, NC

    Hello! I wanted to get some advice for hiking Max Patch in North Carolina. I've been there before and remember fearing for my life as I drove up that gravel road in a tiny sedan, however it's been multiple years. I was planning to return in a few weeks with a rental car (also a Sedan). But I'm very worried about causing damage to the rental car. So here are my two questions:

    1) Any thoughts on whether the car will receive damage that will upset a car rental agency?

    2) Are there any trail heads near Max Patch that are more car-accessible? I'm ok with backpacking multiple miles/ camping in order to get to Max Patch.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    06-25-2012
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    Lurkerville, East Tn
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    The only way I've gotten to Max Patch is on the road from Exit 7 off of I-40. I imagine that the other ways of getting there will be similar with respect to road conditions.

    What you might not be aware of is that Max Patch has become quite popular, especially on weekends. The road is narrow and it will be lined with cars on both sides for a significant distance in both directions from the parking lot. The damage risk to your car (or to a rental) is probably higher from the number of poorly parked cars than it is from the road conditions themselves.

    Also, because of its popularity, MP has been getting trashed on a regular basis. People setting up tents all over the bald, going to the bathroom wherever, and leaving trash. Max Patch is a lovely place, just don't want you to drive all the way down from RI and not know what you're facing. If you can go on a weekday, you'll have a better time. There are other balds like Beauty Spot, or Grassy Ridge that might be more enjoyable.

  3. #3

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    No damage will be caused. I dont know what the road was like the last time you were there but it is a nice gravel road that I have seen many cars at. I typically take the route in from Hot Springs, NC but have taken the i40 route as well in the past year
    Trail Miles: 4,317.5 - AT Trips: 72
    AT Map 1: 2193.1 Complete 2013-2021
    AT Map 2: 270.2
    Sheltowee Trace Map: 148.0
    BMT Map: 52.7
    Pinhoti Trail Map: 31.5

  4. #4
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    05-06-2020
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    Newport, NC
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    I think its around 30 miles from I40 over Max Patch and down to Hot Springs. Great 3 day hike with a soak in the hot springs at the end - Good spot to eat and taste a craft beer too!
    Enjoy -

  5. #5

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    I have to disagree with Gambit. I drove up to Max Patch in May and the road was significantly deteriorated since I'd been there last October. I wouldn't take a sedan up it in it's current state.

    A much easier trailhead is Garenflo Gap Rd. It's 8+ miles from Max Patch, but a cinch to get to off 209
    ...the maddest of all is to see life as it is, and not as it should be. Cervantes

  6. #6
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    08-19-2020
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    Gatlinburg, Tennessee
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    Exit 7 off I-40 - gravel road with some potholes that you can manuever around, no big deal. Yup, avoid weekends.

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