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  1. #1
    Captain Fantastic's sidekick soad's Avatar
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    Default Car camping near Max Patch

    Hey guys, we are heading to the Smokies in a few weeks and would like to do some 'modified' car camping. The idea is to set up camp mabye 1/2 mile from the car (the wife likes the woods, but not THAT much ) Would it be okay to park at the parking lot for Max Patch and camp on top or is that a no no? Are camp fires allowed in that area? Is there any other okay places to camp (for free preferability) in that general area?

    thanks a bunch!!!
    “Back in the day, when the emperor or the king or whatever waged war, they went to war, too. But that's been lost in time.” DM

  2. #2
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    As far as I know it's perfectly OK to camp up on top; it certainly isn't posted otherwise. A fire up there is probably to be discouraged, plus you'd have to pack up all your wood.

  3. #3

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    I've camped on top no problem. Usually it's too windy for a fire anyway, and the wind may drive you from camping on the top as well.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    I've parked there overnight and camped on the summit, as well as down in the woods. On a weekend, on the summit, you probably won't be alone. I've run into groups having a church service, and another time there was a wedding!
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

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  5. #5
    Registered User Egads's Avatar
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    There is a decent dry campsite in the woods northeast of the summit if the summit is too windy. It is only 0.9 mi from the parking area and a gravel road nearly takes you there.
    The trail was here before we arrived, and it will still be here when we are gone...enjoy it now, and preserve it for others that come after us

  6. #6
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    Ditto what others said. Also there are car camping spots up and down Harmon Den Road but they are pretty trashed. There has been recent bear activity there.
    One of my favorite car camping spots in that area is Big Creek camp site in the Smokies. You could also park there and take the short hike to Walnut Bottoms camp site. It's about a 5 mile walk but almost flat.


  7. #7
    Captain Fantastic's sidekick soad's Avatar
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    thanks guys!! you are great! im lookimg forward to a good sunset...fingers crossed....
    “Back in the day, when the emperor or the king or whatever waged war, they went to war, too. But that's been lost in time.” DM

  8. #8

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    car camping's great up there, that's usually where we head when we have the youngun'. fires on the bald are a big no-no, but just a little down the trail into the woods and you're good to go. there are actually some fire rings every now and again.

  9. #9
    Registered User Tennessee Viking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soad View Post
    Hey guys, we are heading to the Smokies in a few weeks and would like to do some 'modified' car camping. The idea is to set up camp mabye 1/2 mile from the car (the wife likes the woods, but not THAT much ) Would it be okay to park at the parking lot for Max Patch and camp on top or is that a no no? Are camp fires allowed in that area? Is there any other okay places to camp (for free preferability) in that general area?

    thanks a bunch!!!
    Camping on top of Max Patch is good, fires not. The grasses that are not immediately next to any of the trails are protected making fires prohibited.

    Since Max Patch is in the middle of nowhere, and only a few locals living in the area, Max Patch is good for car camping. I would just make sure you visit your car on and off through the night.

    Just be aware that bear activity has increased in and around Max Patch. Even if you are car camping, I would bear bag your food away from your car to prevent bear vandalism.

    Round Mtn campground is just down the road from Max Patch on the way down to Del Rio.

    There are a couple small campsites just in the woods just north of Max Patch. One is at the edge of the open meadows. Then another is down at the old berry patch. There are some turnouts that have camping possibilities along Harmon Den Road.
    ''Tennessee Viking'
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  10. #10
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    There are all kinds of summits above 5000' and fairly high gaps in NC/TN where you can park and camp for free. Max Patch is a good one. I don't like Round Mountain.
    I'm not really a hiker, I just play one on White Blaze.

  11. #11
    Registered User chili36's Avatar
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    Get the National Geographic map of the Cherokee (North Section) and/or Pisgah NF.

    There are dozens of places where you can camp at or near the road.

    One of the best days I have had in the mountains was on Max Patch. One of the worst days I have had in the mountains was on Max Patch.

    It can go from a beautiful place to a terrible place with one storm blowing in.
    The most beautiful of vistas are only seen after a long uphill climb.

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