This hike was gorgeous. Definitely worth the difficult rating, but absolutely worth it. We went with a group of 5 moderately fit 29 year olds at the end of September when only 1 ferry runs (10am and 530pm) and we didn’t miss the ferry back but there were a few others who were close to missing it. We spent around 30 minutes at Crypt Lake for lunch and took the extra Hell Roaring Falls trail back. Hiking poles were helpful on the way down, although not necessary. Definitely worth checking out but be ready for a solid workout and some sore glutes the next day!

Also: we had a dog with us and they did great. The trails and ridges weren’t too narrow but we did need to carry them up the ladder and through the tunnel so it would depend on the size of the dog (ours is ~30lbs).