This was an excellent hike for this time of year. As you can see from the map you have some nice elevation gains. A few nice views along the way. Can get confusing near mile marker 3 with the snowmobile trails intermixing with the hiking trail. On top of that some elitist type went through with black paint and covered most of the blazes so you may need to pause every now and again to find which way the trail leads. If the ground is wet or even covered with damp leaves I would go counter clockwise as the grade gets pretty rough to the left of the creek. This was one of the better hikes around the Johnstown area without a large water feature.
I love this trail. It is my go to when I don't know where else to go. It is a great half day hike and is easy enough for a beginner and has a ton of interesting features. If you go to the right of the loop first you will hike up the gorge along the water and if you hike to the left first you will see a small overlook of the river and then come to a massive boulder field.
Overall nice trail. The only area that is less than desirable was Verla Dr. to Wolf Rocks. You could haul a lot of trash out and then Wolf Rocks has some uninteresting Graffiti all over the rock faces. The overall terrain changes quite a bit which keeps you interested. Plenty of good water sources and a few places are nice for an overnight. I spent the night at MM 4.5 after starting at the Clear Shade Rd terminus ( to the east of Babcock Picnic area off 56 (I did counter clockwise hike). The Middle loop and Shade Creek area is very nice also. I did both loops in two days taking my time. For a 59 year old diabetic on his first full pack overnighter I enjoyed this trail.
We did the medium loop (10 mi.) -- cutting the big loop in half. It was a nice hike in early fall. Very easy and mostly flat with a few rocky parts. Not much to see. No overlooks or anything like that. Wolf Rocks are just a large rock outcropping in the middle of the forest (with some uninspired graffiti.
My son and I decided to use this trail as a close by trail to backpack on. Started at the trail head and hiked it counter clockwise so as to do the rockiest section first. We didn't get on the trail till almost 5pm but hiked to almost camp 59 before deviating from the trail and cutting part of the Western section off. We actually camped near the stream using a campsite that had been used multiple times before. The eastern section of the trail along the along the stream soaked us from the waist down the next morning. It was grown up and wet from the dew. Overall a nice outing. Lots of graffiti on the rocks up to and including wolf rocks.