Great Smoky Mountain National Park - Cataloochee Loop - Member Hike

Hike Name: Great Smoky Mountain National Park - Cataloochee Loop
Country: United States
State: North Carolina
Nearby Town: Waynesville
Rating: 4 stars
Directions: The most direct route is to take Cove Creek Road (partially graveled) off route 276 near Dellwood, NC into Cataloochee. A more scenic route (not recommended for RVs) is to take a long winding road, route 32, from Cosby, TN to the TN/NC border. Here the road becomes gravel. It twists and winds into Cataloochee. The Nellie trailhead for the Pretty Hollow Gap Trail is 1.3 miles from the end of the Cataloochee Road where the Rough Fork Trail ends and there is another trailhead and small parking area.
Total Hike Distance: 30.82 miles
Hike Difficulty: Difficult
Permit Required: Yes
Hike Type: One-Way, Shuttle Hike
Hike Starts: Nellie Trailhead
Hike Ends: Rough Fork Trailhead
Trails Used: Pretty Hollow Gap Trail, Mount Sterling Ridge Trail, Balsalm Mountain Trail, Balsalm Mountain Road, Rough Fork Trail
Backcountry Campsites: Yes
Backcountry Water Sources: Streams, Springs, Snow
Management: National Park Service
Contact Information: Great Smoky Mountains National Park
107 Park Headquarters Road
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
(865) 436-1200
Best Season: Winter, Spring, Fall
Users: Hikers, Horses
Road Conditions: Primary Paved Roads, Secondary Paved Roads, Maintained Gravel or Dirt Roads
Hike Summary: 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 Balsalm Mountain Road for a lengthy road walk to the Balsalm 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).



46,350 points


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