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Camping Banned For 2 Years At North Carolina's Max Patch Mountain

The view from the top of Max Patch bald is seen in 2018.
Dashiell Coleman
The view from the top of Max Patch Mountain is seen in 2018.

The U.S. Forest Service has announced new restrictions at Max Patch, a national forest area near the Tennessee state line in Madison County which includes a section of the Appalachian Trail. The 4,629-foot-tall bald mountain, a short drive from Hot Springs, is a popular camping and backpacking destination known for its panoramic views. The trail saw an explosion of visitors during 2020.

These new restrictions are designed to reduce impacts to natural resources and protect public health and safety, according to the Forest Service.

The following rules are effective immediately:

  1. No camping.
  2. No fires.
  3. Area closes one hour after sundown and reopens one hour before sunrise. Visitors prohibited during closed hours.
  4. Group size limited to 10.
  5. Dogs and other animals must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet, or in a crate or cage.
  6. Stay on designated trails.
  7. Aircraft may not land nor drop off or pick up anything in this area. Drones are prohibited on Appalachian Trail.
  8. No fireworks.
  9. Bikes must stay on roads only.
  10. Horses and other saddle and pack animals may not be ridden, hitched, tethered, or hobbled in this area.

These rules are in effect until June 30, 2023.

Copyright 2021 Blue Ridge Public Radio. To learn more, visit Blue Ridge Public Radio.

Lilly Knoepp serves as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina. She is a native of Franklin, NC who returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.