This is a fantastic hike with beautiful sub-alpine hiking for the majority of the hike! It's an easy and accessible hike that requires some minimal navigation towards the summit because of the nature of the ridge that you walk down heading south on the western leg of the hike. I agree with a previous comment about the loop. This trail is rarely done as a loop, and is normally completed in a clockwise direction to needle peak only, and then returning the way you came from. There is some difficult class 3 scrambling to get to the summit, and you should be prepared to do a bit of route-finding on the way up near the summit (more detail below)

There is still some snow on the route. It is doable in hiking boots only but be prepared to kick some steps in especially if ascending earlier in the day.

When you're near the peak - stay to the right, and find your way up with caution! There is a previous comment about not going right but when we followed that advice we got into some serious difficult scrambling. Not taking the time to find the proper route leads to a pretty drastic increase in difficulty. When we investigated the route to the right we found it to be much easier and more attainable than the crack on the left. If you have to wiggle in between a space about a foot and a half wide and approximately 10 feet tall, you're too far to the left but probably still thinking how cool the hike is. There is an easier way to the right that you'll probably find on the way back down. Ascend with caution but enjoy the views!

Total time for two of us hiking together was 2:30 on the way up, 2:00 on the way down, with about an hour spent at the summit.