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Consider these 5 Important Details for your Max Patch Elopement
Max Patch is one of my favorite hikes near Asheville. Once you reach the top of the hike, you’re literally standing on top of a mountain and surrounded by 360 degree views of mountain ranges. It’s hard to beat.
So if you know you’re going to elope in Asheville, you may be wondering where you should elope. There’s so many beautiful places surrounding the Asheville area that it can feel overwhelming having to choose a location. The beauty of a max patch elopement is that you can camp at the pinnacle of the hike and have your elopement ceremony with one of the most beautiful sunrises you’ll ever see. Not to mention, you’ll be able to see the Milky Way and a million stars at night. Talk about one heck of an elopement.
But before you decide to elope at max patch, you may be wondering if you need an elopement permit, how hard the hike is, how many guests are allowed to attend a max patch elopement, if there will be a lot of bystanders hanging out during your ceremony, and probably more. I’ll cover all of that down below.
A quick message from the National Forests Service about elopements at Max Patch
- Contrary to popular belief, your photographer is required to have a max patch elopement permit if you plan to elope at max patch.
- If you plan on eloping by yourselves at max patch, then you do not need a special events permit.
- The National Park Service asks that you do not use max patch as your elopement location if you are not mindful of the limited parking situation. Because of this, I always recommend that you have your elopement ceremony at sunrise.
1. Know how to get to Max Patch beforehand
The first bit of the drive to Max Patch from Asheville is pretty straightforward. You hit the highway until you find yourself on mountain back roads that eventually turn into gravel. When the road turns to gravel, that’s where it gets a bit tricky. Past that point, some GPSs get turned around and there are no signs along the road to indicate where Max Patch is and it’s pretty easy to get lost.
I always recommend that you download or preload your GPS with directions to and from Max Patch and screenshot directions.
It’s more than likely you won’t have cell service once you leave the main highway, which is why it’s so so SO important that you have easy access to your directions. Trust me, I got lost more than once trying to get back to the highway from Max Patch and I ended up in the middle of nowhere Tennessee. I don’t want that same fate for you.
2. Brush up on trail information
From the parking lot, you’ll find the trailhead. And at the trailhead, there is a sign that points you to the left for an easier, but longer, hike, and to the right for a harder, but shorter, hike. If you’re coming here with dogs, I would suggest taking the trail to the left.
If you don’t consider yourself a hiker-
You will be totally fine hiking to the top of Max Patch. Just take the trail to the left that says “easy hike” on it and you’ll be good to go.
The hike is about 25-30 minutes to reach the pinnacle from the parking lot, and the trail is wide and flat with a steady and gradual incline. You can totally push a stroller up 90% of the way, with the last 10% being the tall hill at the very end.
If you hike/walk/are active pretty often-
Max patch will be a breeze for you. Take the trail to the left for a leisurely walk, or take the trail to the right for a harder (and shorter) hike to the pinnacle. If you go to the right, you can probably reach the pinnacle in 10-15 minutes if you power up the hill. And if you plan on hitting up more than one trail in a day (or over a week), check out my list of my top 9 favorite hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
3. Be conscious of the weather
9/10 it is at least a little bit colder at Max Patch than it is in Asheville. Max patch is at a higher elevation than other easily accessible mountains in the area (with the exception of Mount Mitchell), and you’ll quickly find that it can be a bit chillier and windier than other locations around here.
So when you’re thinking of your attire for your max patch elopement or engagement session, keep the temperature difference in mind. You may want nude colored leggings under your wedding dress, thermals under your suit, Smartwool socks, and hand warmers.
4. The parking situation
The parking lot at max patch is TINY. Like, it can maybe fit in 10 cars at most, but you’ll see people parking all alongside the road. That’s what the National Forests Service is trying to prevent because it can be dangerous driving that road and accidentally swiping someone’s car, or worse, a hiker. Especially if it’s foggy outside and the visibility is low.
This is why I always recommend a max patch elopement to take place at sunrise. You can drive up the morning of your elopement and know you’ll always have a safe spot to park, or you can camp overnight at the top of max patch. If camping is your thing, then I promise you’ll absolutely love camping here (and I’ll even set up camp with you and get photos of you two with the Milky Way).
5. Decor and chairs
Arbors, chairs, and other decorations of the sort are not allowed for elopements at max patch. The land here is fragile and can be easily damaged, which is why the National Forest Service doesn’t allow it.
I know it sounds like I’m saying a lot of “don’t”‘s in this post, but hear me out.
Let the beauty of the land speak for itself. The backdrop for your max patch elopement are the ancient Blue Ridge Mountains that have been here long before we have and long after we’ve left. I know you love these views just as much as I do, so let’s do our best to preserve them.
If you’d like to learn more about how to elope at max patch
Contact me! I’d be more than happy to help guide you in the right direction, and to help you make sure your elopement isn’t negatively impacting the land. And of course I’d be happy to photograph and guide your max patch elopement 🙂
If you’re thinking about elopement elsewhere in the Appalachian mountains, all you need to know about eloping in the Appalachian Mountains can be found here.