My wife and I hiked the loop clockwise on May 8. We recommend that direction of travel for first timers. This trail is more challenging on the western side because of the ups and downs along the cliff side and a couple of creek crossings, and it's usually best to do the harder part first when you're fresh. It's not a difficult trail, but it falls into the upper end of "moderate." If instead you go counterclockwise and find the west side too much to handle, it's a long way back to the trailhead the way you came. Also, the west facing cliff side can get very hot in the afternoon, whereas the deep canyon and tree cover on the eastern side can be a welcome relief on a hot day.
The grade on the west side of the summit seems to be a little steeper than on the east slope, but either side is about equally safe for either ascent or descent if you're careful. Be aware there are a number of places along the way where alternate paths may lead you astray. Keep your Alltrails app handy and check it often to ensure you're on the trail. One place where I recommend a detour from the Alltrails map: at the northwest corner of the trail you can take an approx. half mile detour that takes you along the side of the hill up above the creek. It's easier to follow, there are no creek crossings, and it's a bit shorter.
Overall, it's a great hike with beautiful vistas from the summit and some amazing scenery along the west wide. Take lots of water, and plan for about five hours if it's your first time.