The overall difficulty was actually easy. The trails are mostly access roads for utility towers. However if you do the actual loop there is a spot that has no real trail. You have to crash through the bush and rock down a hill to get to the adjoining trail. Still fun though. I would recommend it.
Trail wasnt marked all that well, we found ourselves well off track turning this 6mile hike into a 10 mile one. Probably 70% of that distance was outside this loop... and not a lot of shade out there for the dog. Cool views though from the Powerline towers if you go that far.
I hiked from Long Canyon to Simi Peak and Back, this review is for that track. The day was beautiful, cool in the 60's with almost total cloud cover and patches of blue sky. The fields had already turned golden and China flat was no longer lush and green however this was still an amazing hike.
This route was not overly difficult. I would rate it as medium difficulty and nearly a perfect way to spend a day. Not a hike I would be interested in doing in the heat. as there is very little shade cover save for a few spots.
I have hiked in this area in dry warm conditions and the ground becomes hard and clay like which puts a bit of stress on my legs and knees. Fortunately the day I hiked this was the day after rains and the soil was soft and moist, even a touch muddy in places. It was great for hiking overall despite the muddy spots, soft ground with no dust.
Despite the fields of gold there were patches of green in places, mostly under a small section of oaks.
Rather than take China Flat trail I took a narrower trail which was nice however, it gets quite narrow and very cut out in places which makes finding a flat surface challenging. Not good if you have bad ankles. Also, the tall grasses combined with the narrow track made using my trekking poles a bit challenging. Next time I might stay on the main China Flat trail until it intersects with the Simi Peak trail.
This hike took me nearly 6 hours with ample breaks at both Simi Peak and the ridgeline overlooking Long Canyon. Total hiking time was about 5 hours. Bring plenty of water as there are no sources on the path and make sure you bring sunscreen or clothing to cover exposed skin as the midday sun is known to get quite brutal out there, especially in the summer.
There's a portion of this loop on the Sunrise Trail that had a fire back in November 2015. It's shortly after turning off the Autumn Ridge Trail taking the loop clockwise. It has a very nice flowering of blue dicks this year. It may turn into a nice patch of wildflowers as other fire followers start to take root. It's worth keeping an eye on.
Be aware that a portion of the Albertson Fire Road is closed. It's a .5 mile stretch and the detour is .7 miles. If you start your bike or hike from the end of Lang Ranch Parkway and decide to continue on the portion of the trail that is clearly marked as closed to the public you will encounter a chain link fence and locked chain link gate on the far end.