HIGHLIGHTS: This loop hike starts at the Pretty Hollow Gap trailhead 1.3 miles from the end of the Cataloochee Road at a site called Nellie (near a restored early 1900’s schoolhouse). The route climbs the Pretty Hollow Gap trail to the Mount Sterling Ridge and follows this trail east toward Laurel Gap Shelter. Here it picks up the Balsam Mountain Trail and follows it down to the Balsam Mountain Road for a lengthy road walk to the Balsam Mountain Campground (since the Polls Gap Trail is temporarily closed.) From the Campground, the route descends to Polls Gap and picks up the Rough Fork Trail that descends back to the terminus of the Cataloochee Road and wide open area that occasionally has elk or wild turkeys wandering in the field. In the last few miles of this thirty mile route, there are some historic homesteads (including the S.L. Woody house which sits on Rough Fork Creek).