Trail Update

Pisgah National Forest Issues Two-Year Camping Ban at Max Patch

July 1, 2021

June 22, 2023: Pisgah National Forest has extended the camping closure on Max Patch to June 2026. Learn more.

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (July 1, 2021) – This morning, the Pisgah National Forest announced a two-year camping closure on Max Patch, a popular destination for Appalachian Trail (A.T.) hikers on the North Carolina-Tennessee border. The closure will be in place until June 30, 2023.

“We’ve been working with partners to achieve sustainable recreation at Max Patch because of the impacts due to a significant increase in visitors over the past decade,” said Appalachian District Ranger Jen Barnhart in a press release. “Unfortunately, the level of use is causing a public safety hazard as well as serious damage to wildlife habitat.”

The new restrictions for Max Patch are currently in effect and include the following:

  1. No camping.
  2. No fires.
  3. Area closes 1 hour after sundown. Reopens 1 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.

As stated in the release, past efforts of visitor education and engineering controls such as barriers and fencing have not been sufficient to address the challenges. A visitor use monitoring group consisting of local partners, the U.S. Forest Service, and local community members has helped to develop solutions and will also help to educate visitors on the new restrictions.

For more information, please see the official release and additional documents below.

Public information: 828.689.9694
Media contact: Cathy Dowd –

U.S. Forest Service Release on the new Max Patch restrictions. Click to view the full release.

A map of the closure order area on Max Patch. Click to view a printable version.

Max Patch Forest Order, Page 1. Click to view the full document.

Max Patch Forest Order, Page 2. Click to view the full document.