Just a little over an hour away from Asheville is Max Patch, an absolutely stunning spot that boasts 360-degree mountain views and is one of my all-time favorite locations for my couples to elope. A Max Patch elopement all but guarantees you’ll get the most incredible photos from your day, no matter what time of year or what kind of weather. It’s a relatively quick hike, meaning your adventure elopement doesn’t have to mean hours of hiking to reach the bald! There are a few things that you’ll want to know before you start your planning to make sure your elopement is everything you’ve envisioned it to be.
If you’re planning an Asheville elopement and have settled on the beautiful Max Patch to say your vows, here are 9 things you might find helpful:
The road to the Max Patch trailhead is very winding and bumpy, with about 40 minutes of driving on gravel roads, so an SUV is recommended – but it’s absolutely possible to drive by sedan as well (just be careful if you’re going in inclement weather!). And when I say winding, I mean winding! It’s a super fun drive to experience, so long as you’re careful. You’ll want to be cautious of others driving the opposite way, and to drive slowly around the curves to play it safe. Once you arrive, there’s a small parking lot, but if the lot is full, you can park alongside the road beyond the lot. This is just the start of your adventure for your Max Patch elopement!
Depending on how much you want to hike during your adventurous destination elopement will determine which trail to take. To begin the hike to your Max Patch elopement, you’ll be going one of two ways: the left trail, and the right trail. The shorter trail is about 1.5 miles, and the longer loop is about 2.4 miles. If we start to the right of the trailhead, we’ll go about a half a mile on the blue-blazed loop until it intersects with the Appalachian Trail. Most people choose to start on the left, which is a more gradual climb with panoramic views, that leads to beautiful lush greenery before arriving on the bald.
One of my favorite things about Max Patch is that it’s completely free to elope at! That means there’s no permit application, and no permit fees associated. For a location to be this stunning at entirely at no cost is such a steal! With that said, I recommend having an elopement here only if you want it to be just the two of you, or a small handful of loved ones. A group of 10 or more guests might make things difficult, especially if they’re ranging in physical accessibility. It’s best to keep things intimate if Max Patch is where you want to tie the knot – unless, of course, you want to bring your dogs, because that’s permitted!
If you’re dreaming of an Asheville elopement that has blue skies and sunshine, you may very well get it! Elopements at Max Patch truly boast some of the most beautiful sunsets, with a sky that feels endless being up so high on the bald. But Mother Nature might have other plans – and that’s more than OK! Just as stunning as its crystal-blue skies, Max Patch can offer some serious mood: cloudy, overcast days are so striking and gorgeous, and photograph so well. Be prepared for anything (like wind, rain, and clouds) by bringing rain jackets, waterproof boots, and scarves. I bring umbrellas and hand warmers to all of my Max Patch elopements (or anywhere in the mountains, really) to make sure everyone is toasty and as dry as possible. I won’t stop you from dancing and celebrating in the rain, though! I highly recommend you work with whatever weather the day gives you. Embrace it, and let it be a part of your adventure elopement story.
Yes, a weekend elopement is convenient for your schedule if you work a traditional 9-5, but that means it’s pretty convenient for everyone else, too! By choosing to have your Max Patch elopement on a weekday, you’ll avoid crowds of people and will have ample parking to enjoy. If you want to feel like your elopement is truly just you two, consider swapping your elopement date to a weekday.
It’s never fun to realize you’re cell service is gone when you’re traveling somewhere new, so be sure to download directions through Google Maps before your drive up. While you may get lucky and get a bar or two, it can go away as quickly as it came. Making sure you arrive to your elopement at Max Patch safely should be a top priority, so come prepared! More than likely, you’ll follow me back down the mountain, but it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan should we not be traveling down together.
If you were looking for a quick place to run to the bathroom (or change into your wedding attire) at your Max Patch elopement, I’ve got some news: there isn’t one! With that being said, I personally bring a pop-up changing tent for all of my couples who are eloping at Max Patch in case they don’t want to drive up in their wedding dress/suit. Make sure you use the restroom prior to your trip, otherwise you’ll have to hold it in, which is never fun!
That’s because you’ve got STUNNING views every which way instead! Plus, hiking with bulky items or decor can be a bit difficult to manage and might tire you out. Bringing along a few smaller items (like a bouquet) is the best route to take, and remember that the more compact, the better!
While it might sound obvious to be mindful of the environment around you, like ensuring you dispose of waste properly or respecting wildlife, some may not realize just how detrimental it can be to not leave an area as you have found it. The Leave No Trace Policy educates people by providing education and skills to help people care for the outdoors. Before you arrive to your elopement at Max Patch, familiarize yourself with the seven principles to make sure you are celebrating with great care and respect to the nature and wildlife surrounding you.
If you’re looking for an Asheville elopement photographer to help guide you through the planning process, I’m here to help! Here’s a little bit of what I offer my couples:
I’m here to ensure your day is as seamless as it can be so that you can focus less on the planning, and more on celebrating such a special day with your partner. If you’re looking for an elopement photographer to help plan your Asheville elopement, go ahead and reach out here!