Active Rest Day – Max Patch Loop Trail

The Great AFF-alachian Trail Race has begun here at AFF, so in between those gym workouts or neighborhood runs, spend a warm afternoon out on the trails this week and check out the Max Patch Bald on the Appalachian Trail.


Although a bit of a drive outside of Asheville, this hike does not disappoint with its epic 360-degree view at the summit, showing off the surrounding mountains and landscape.


Many consider Max patch mountain to be a high point of the Appalachian Trail.  Not because of its altitude, at a mere 4629 feet, but because of its scenery.


The hike up to the summit is relatively easy, following clearly marked and well maintained trails.  There is a short loop that’s only 1.4 miles long, and a slightly longer, 2.4 mile long loop.  The longer of the two provides views of the mountain and the rolling, grassy landscape from several angles.  Around this time of year you can find wildflowers growing along the trail and throughout the old pastures that surround the summit.


A nice, moderate hike like this one is a great way to break up those tough strength and cardio workouts.  Rest days are necessary to allow your body to recover and adapt after a workout, but that does not mean that a rest day has to be a sit-on-the-couch day.


Taking an active rest day and doing a light walk, bike ride, or a hike like the Max Patch loop keeps the muscles and joints moving and increases the heart rate, if only slightly.  Breaking up the usual routine with a lighter activity helps to prevent overtraining and injuries that can result from it. Just be sure to bring plenty of water while you’re out there!


And don’t forget to sign up for The Great AFF-alachian Trail Race going on at Asheville Family Fitness right now!  We just got started on Monday, but it’s not too late to get in on the action.

(max patch image courtesy of

Written by Ross Elliott

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