Explorer | 30 pts
Nice loop, although not without problems. We reached the first night's backcountry site around 11am, and decided to continue on. Upon reaching Polls Gap trail, we discovered that it was closed ("Closed due to unsafe conditions"), a closure not listed on the GSMNP website. We were forced to walk along the road and camp at Balsam Mountain campground. Continuing to hike along the road we reached the 2nd night's campsite before 11am, and continued on. The rest of the trail was downhill, and we easily finished it by the afternoon.
Overall: Campsites badly spaced for even semi-serious hikers, and major trail closure results in badly designed loop. Do not recommend.