Hiked in one straight shot, but I would not recommend it simply due to the altitude change and need to acclimate: many others, including myself, get sick closer to the top. I missed the crowds going up by starting the hike at night, and made it to station 9 for the sunrise (it is a better chance of seeing the sunrise here, those at the top didnt witness it due to fog). If hiking at night, make sure you have a headlamp because you will need your hands. IMPORTANT: there is nowhere to get water on the way down, so buy more if you need it at the top, and use the facilities as it will be at least 1.5 hours before there is another opportunity. unless you run down, which I highly discourage due to mud and loose dirt. 2 hiking sticks will make this trek down mich easier as well. I did not stop to rest at a station, but if you plan to then you need to make reservations ahead of time.