The first half of this trail is best with the lake views.
Agree with some other comments related to the condition of the trail due to horse traffic, but overall, it is not too bad.
We covered the entire loop in about 4 hours with some snack stops.
This is a fantastic trail. It has everything you could want: steep declines and inclines throughout; rugged terrain; crossing rivers; going under caves; jumping and climbing over fallen logs; narrow paths on the edge of cliffs. All the while, surrounded by stunning pines and wildlife. This hike does require a lot of attention to footing, particularly at the higher altitudes where there are more narrow paths on cliffs. I have only hiked it once and thoroughly enjoyed it. I only encountered two other sets of people while on the trail, so it seemed to be pretty isolated to me. It can be a bit easy to get lost given that some of the trail is less marked, and with fallen trees the path can be easy to miss if you aren't paying attention. I had to back track a few times to re-find the trail.
Make sure to pack enough water, packed snacks, and toiletries. Dress in layers! I recommend that you estimate 45 minutes to 60 minutes per mile in order to make sure you complete it before it gets dark. an FYI to dog owners- - I went with my very active and athletic dog. While he had a great time, he was struggling toward the end and tried several times to make a bed in the cool dirt for himself. There is a lot of jumping over logs for them -- make sure to pack plenty of water and ensure they are fit for the job!