As most reviewers put, the initial climb was a good cardio workout. The trail is rated moderate and most of the trail are just that. But I would make the steep beginning a strenuously moderate. I would rate this trail as dog friendly. My Golden Retriever was able to climb even the steep part at the East River Road entrance with little help. (No scrambling involved) The scenic overlooks are all they are professed to be. I am looking forward to returning in a month just to enjoy the fall colors. We hiked the Jessie Gerard trail and then lengthened our hike by taking the Charles Pack trail and returning to the trail head on the Robert Ross Trail and Falls Cutoff Trail. This made for an enjoyable and challenging 7.2 mile trek . The trails are marked well in some places and completely confusing in others. With the help of the American Legion & People's State Forest Map, and gps from AllTrails, we were able to stay on track for most of the way. Good hiking boots are recommended for this hike.