Appalachian Trail: Hot Springs to Max Patch

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Pisgah National Forest

Appalachian Trail: Hot Springs to Max Patch is a 19.1 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Hot Springs, North Carolina that features a great forest setting and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, nature trips, and backpacking and is best used from March until November.

Length19.1 miElevation gain6,154 ftRoute typePoint to point
BackpackingCampingHikingNature tripsForestViews
Description
Waypoints (0)

The small town of Hot Springs, NC is the only place in North Carolina where the AT goes directly through the center of town. There are a number of places for resupply here, including a Dollar General Store and Bluff Mountain Outfitters.

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Reviews (49)
Photos (703)
Recordings (44)
Completed (130)
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Nana Canterbury
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Hiking
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Jesse Guardiani
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Hiking

Straight up. Nice though.

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Josh Brady
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Richie Cox
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Richie Cox
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Hiking
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Richie Cox
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Hiking
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Lindsey Moore
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BackpackingGreat!

I did Max Patch to Hot Springs and I loved every second of it!!! It was my first time on the AT and I’m set on doing the whole thing now! The weather was beautiful. Plenty of water. Stayed at laughing heart hostel and they also shuttled me to the head of the trail. If you are looking for a first time overnight backpacking I recommend this. It did have its uphills so be prepared for that!

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Mike Fulkerson
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CampingGreat!

Beautiful trail with lots of amazing views and things to see. Good amount of water sources but make sure to top off your water every chance you get, it was starting to get really dry closer to Hot Springs. Would rate some parts of this trail on the harder side, be ready for some serious inclines and a good workout. If you're starting at Max Patch GET THERE EARLY. We showed up around 4PM and it was packed, parking was a nightmare.

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Natalie Weil
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BackpackingGreat!

Well marked, longer distance than what was listed

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Donna Craven
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Walking
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Josh Nave
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Hiking
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Karl Murphy
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HikingGreat!
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Carson Hagan
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Bugs

Parked the car at Hot Springs and got a ride up to Max Patch. Max Patch was beautiful like everyone says and I wish we could have stayed one night. Hiked to Walnut Mountain shelter. There were a number of water sources along the way which was awesome. Shelter itself is def in need of some maintenance. There are a number of camping sites up on the hill behind the shelter and one spot below the shelter that we stayed at. This site was BUGGY - couldn't even hang out at the camp table because we were getting bit up. Bug spray did nothing so we called it an early night and got in the tent away from the bugs. Hiked from this shelter, 10 miles to Deer Park Mountain shelter. Many water sources along the way. This shelter was a much better spot than the previous with two sources of water and lots of flat spots to pitch tent. Way less buggy here. Spent the night, woke up and did the last 3 miles down into Hot Springs. Overall a great hike with ups and downs that were killer. Not too many mountain views but was still a fun hike to check off the list. Got a glimpse of neowise the first night! It was nice to end the hike in town - immediately pigged out at a restaurant and then hopped into the river to soak our feet for a little bit.

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Jeff Nalley
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HikingFeeMuddyWashed out

We hiked from Max Patch to Hot Springs. The weekends draw a descent size crowd as there is a parking lot close by. Folks just come up for the sunrises and sunsets. Moving North towards Hot Springs in June we encountered excellent water sources every few Miles. Although there are many available camping spots, be warned this is a very popular section. Great views and cool breezy nights. Also note it’s not a simple coast downhill. You’ll have enough uphill in your hike to get a good workout. Trails are well maintained. At the end of the hike we chose from a few of the patio restaurants in town. Great way to end a weekend hike.

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Sheila Smeltzer
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Nature trips

Not completed, made it to Garenelo Gap and turned back. This was just a day hike. Did not have camping gear. Marked my location at Garenelo, I think I can pick it up there and make it to Max Patch quite easily! Still, round trip 13+ miles. Really beautiful trail. Well kept and only passed a slew of hikers hiking against me (like they all took off from the same point). No one camping at the sweet camp spots I saw. I would do it again! Absolutely loved seeing the gravesites near the shelter. So cool.

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Stanley Scott
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Backpacking

If your looking for a long climb this is for you. From Hot Springs to Max Patch you will climb close 14,500 feet total so be ready. Most def worth it to camp out on Max Patch on a perfect night!

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Colleen Edmonson
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Hiking

We went from Max Patch to Hot Springs. Water sources were few due to drought, so fill up at every trickle you see. the view from Max Patch is amazing!

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Cadence Riley
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Hiking

Great for beginners fun to finish in hot springs because it’s a great town

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Katie McIlwain
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Hiking

This trail was just right for our group as we had some experienced hikers and some not. We split it up to enjoy the nature of the hike more and have a full backpacking experience with camping several nights along the way. I highly recommend this trail for families but there can be challenges of rain and steep/narrow paths that maybe too difficult for older folks and young children. I would love to go again

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Ty Linder
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Hiking

This is honestly closer to 20 miles than 18. In fact it was 13.1 from Hot Springs to Walnut Mountain Shelter and then 6.7 the rest of the way. I did it over two days as part of my first ever overnighter on the AT. Hot Springs is an awesome, friendly little town but you climb out of it in no time. It’s a decent ascent followed by some flat areas near the Deer Creek Shelter. But the summit of Bluff Mountain after Garenflo Gap was a humdinger. Especially with a full pack. You cross a lot of streams and water sources after Lemon Gap plus many cool footbridges. There’s a brief meadow with some overgrown weeds and a very steady and manageable rise to Max Patch over the final five miles or so. Lots of deer and a couple salamanders. 360° views at the top!

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Austin Malmberg
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Hiking

Went from Max Patch to Hot Springs. Possible in one day, but more enjoyable over two. The descent to Hot Springs was a doozy.

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Kathleen Bowen
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First to Review

Great enjoyable easy hike.

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Randy Markwardt
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“ shiggs “
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Evans Schmidt
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Amy Lee
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Paul Boyd
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Elspeth Greene
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