Near the town of Hot Springs, NC is Max Patch Mountain. At 4,616′ in elevation it isn’t the highest mountain in the Appalachians, but it is higher than most of the surrounding range.
A winding dirt and gravel road with frequent washboards leads most of the way up Max Patch Mountain, with the final few hundred feet in elevation beginning from a lot. This is a popular destination, and when we attended there were numerous cars in the lot and people scrambling along the mountain. It’s a few hundred feet to the summit, which is achieved via the loop trails that take you around the peak. For a few hundred yards, this trail shares ground with the Appalachian Trail before it continues it’s northward march. Once on top of this bald mountain you have an uninhibited 360 degree view 20 miles in each direction. Mt. Mitchell, the entire Smokey Mountain Range (including Great Smokey Mountain National Park) and other spots.
In this photo is the trail and blazes for the Appalachian Trail (white) in the foreground, with the Smokey Mountains and Great Smokey Mountain National Park in the distance.