The West Side Loop is beautiful! The view from the White Rock Mountain Recreation Area (where you'll start) is breathtaking, and the hike is consistently lovely. We hiked just to White Rock Creek Falls and back, having hiked to the Falls from Shores Lake in the Fall, and I do like this route better but just by a little bit.
Do note that this route takes you down, down, down the mountain, and then back up, up, up - an elevation change of 1800+ ft in about 3 miles. If that is your idea of "moderate," the dog and I salute you! We were wiped out. He is snoring loudly on the couch as I type this.
We also hiked the easy 2-mile Rim Trail since we were there. Don't skip it, no matter how tired you are!
A really nice hike especially after some substantial rainfall. It's worth noting that the mileage listed represents the hike in and back. Don't give up on it, it's a long 2.8 miles in and I met a couple of ppl on the way out that needed some reassurance that they still had some track left to get there. Also the trail will lead directly to the falls. Moderate is a good rating for this trail unless you haven't hiked much and are somewhat out of shape. If this is you, then it will be moderately hard hike.
Did the entire loop in Mid October, unfortunately the fall color was late last year, but I imagine it would be superb if you got it at the right time. Best to hike the loop from west to east, starting at white rock imo. Some cool waterfalls and creeks on the west side and around Shores but the east side is mostly just a salty climb up WR Mountain. All n all, a good overnight loop that's really convenient.
It's actually the Shores Loop Trail - we started at Shores lake, went the east side up and camped overnight, came the west side down. West side was much prettier with the falls and creek than the east. Steep in places on the east going up, but overall a very nice hike and gorgeous views from the top of White Rock Mountain. Go all the way to the top and watch the sunset and do the rim trail. Worth it!
First, some "business" details: Clicking the directions link here will not take you to the trailhead. I'm guessing it takes you somewhere near the White Rock Cabins.
Using your map app to get to Shores Lake Recreation Area will get you where you need to go. There are some dirt roads, and the paved road into the recreation area is in bad shape in some spots, be warned. The camping area will be off to the right. There's a sign indicating the trail is that way. Follow the road a little ways into the camping area and you can park right next to the trailhead.
If you decide to park in the recreation area (this is easiest), there is a $3 day use fee (honor system). The restrooms are well-maintained!
If, for whatever reason, you need/want to avoid the fee, there are other places to park. I'd suggest an old road that goes off to the left. It's uphill after you pass the camping area, just before a really sharp turn. The trail crosses the road right here.
The good stuff: the trail is GREAT. There are rocky areas, trees to scramble over, bluffs, springs, the pretty little creek with lots of picturesque pools, and the waterfalls (just the main one had any water today). The scenery can't be beat.
The trail is pretty well-traveled - we passed three other groups - but it's a bit out of the way, so I doubt it's ever over-crowded. There's some steepish up/down, and the trail is a bit narrow at points, but it's mostly easy hiking. I'd say "moderate" is a good rating.