Now that crowds are thin and the summer haze is gone, use the Appalachian Trail as the backbone of a 2.8-mile loop over and around Max Patch, a high-elevation bald that provides a grassy perch for observing the Black Mountain Range’s 6,000-foot behemoths (extend the trip to Roaring Fork for a 7.6-mile day). After the hike, cruise north to the tiny town of Hot Springs and soak in one of the only naturally occurring thermal pools in the region (pool rental starts at $11 depending on time and size; nchotsprings.com).
Mapping by Tom Mangen
- Distance: 4.6
Location: 35.796457, -82.962399
Location: 35.797223, -82.957077