This route winds through Mine Hollow along the stream and brings you up to the top of Balsam Mountain where you are rewarded with great views of the Slide Mountain Wilderness.
Microspikes or traction devices might be needed in late fall, winter, and springtime visits.
From the trailhead, you enter the Forest Preserve on the red blazed Oliverea - Mapledale Trail
and are presented with a quick bridge crossing. You'll follow alongside the stream you until you switch to the yellow blazed Mine Hollow Trail
and quickly begin to climb.
After climbing up the Mine Hollow Trail
, you'll turn right onto the blue blazed Pine Hill - West Branch Trail
where you'll rock hop and have a small scramble as you finish your grind up to 3600' where you'll reach a great viewpoint.
Once up top, you'll follow the Pine Hill - West Branch Trail
down to an intersection with the Oliverea - Mapledale Trail
. The 1.45 mile descent is quick and and straight down, until you reach the valley floor and the Rider Hollow shelter. Retrace your steps back to the trailhead for the final .3 miles.