only rated as hard because of the initial climb up Castle Rock, otherwise easy, this area off limits from Feb to July due to Peregrin Falcon nesting. Great little loop. almost five miles but because of the climb took two hours. We hit the trail at 6am and only passed one hiker on the way out. Nice bit of isolation. Lots of birds, Nuttals Woodpeckers, hawks, seen a skunk as well.