I enjoyed a hike into this trail from Blackwell campground. The hike up to the pond is simple, not a lot of elevation change, clear enough and low creeks. If it rained anyttime soon I would avoid this as this trail sees more horses than hikers. We avoided the mud, but it was firmed up given our recent dry spell.
The pond was about 2.7miles in and a great overnighter. Flat spot to camp (multiple tents could stay there and a nice firepit). I hiked in water (pond water was...well pond looking), and I didn't trust the streams given recent weather but if you are doing a multi day.... there was enough there to be filtered in a pinch.
I didn't see any reason to keep going east to take the loop all the way around....the northern part of the loop is just too close to tower ridge rd (perhaps in the winter when there is no traffic, but not in the fall).
Given great weather (sunny 60s and 40s at night).....the pond was very enjoyable on a fall day. Rather than doing the norther loop....I would recommend doing a longer hike and going all the way up to the Grubb Ridge trail.
Rating stars lost because the loop overlap with the road and horse traffic, but this can still be enjoyed given the low foot traffic (unluck other parts of Deam Wilderness that have high foot traffic).
I would definitely consider this an easy trail an experienced hiker. A great hike for training, or people new to hiking. Very well marked,Well maintained trails! It took us about a smidge over 2 hrs one way. A good day hike, but also great for camping. If you want a spot near the lake..... you better get moving early.... Especially on the weekend! There was A lot of traffic today....mostly people camping. Some pretty views! We will definitely do this one again.
About a 3 hour hike to the lake. Not a whole lot of dramatic scenery, but does include diverse trees including beautiful tall pines. Camping was a little crowded on the shore even in late September, but spots can be found. Great first hike and camping trip with my daughter - wish there was more scenary in route. Saw no wildlife. Will do again!