Lemon Gap on the Appalachian Trail in Madison County, North Carolina
Lemon Gap Access Point on the Appalachian Trail is a somewhat remote access point as you will travel almost 10 miles on a gravel road. But, the beauty of the remoteness is appealing. The hike to Max Patch from here is a beautiful one with little elevation change.
On the hike south to Garenflo Gap, Bluff Mountain is about 3.7 miles. This hike from Lemon Gap is the easiest way to hike to Bluff Mountain whose elevation is just short of that of Max Patch. The vantage from Bluff Mountain offers good views when the leaves are gone from the trees. Bluff also has wonderful rock outcroppings. Lemon Gap elevation is 3550′ and Bluff Mountain is 4686′ but, of course, there will be up and down portions of the trail. From Lemon Gap on the Appalachian Trail, Garenflo Gap is 7.4 miles and Max Patch Road is 6.2 miles.
Driving Directions: GPS location: N35° 49.30’ W082° 56.16’
From downtown Hot Springs: Follow Highway 209 (7.3 miles) to Meadow Fork Road (State Road 1175). There is a sign here and at all the other junctions to direct you to Max Patch. Go 5.3 miles to Little Creek Road (State Road 1181). Follow Little Creek Road (1181) which will turn into a gravel road for 3.5 miles to a T intersection which is Max Patch Road (State Road 1182). Turn right onto Max Patch Road (gravel) and go for 1.6 miles to Max Patch parking and continue past Max Patch parking on a gravel road for 3.6 miles to the Lemon Gap parking access.
Hiking the Trail:
To hike north to Garenflo Gap (7.4 miles), go the direction of the white blaze on the post on the left side of the parking lot.
To hike south to Max Patch (6.2 miles), go the direction of the white blaze on the tree on the right side of the parking lot.