I have hiked this loop many times. As the park becomes more and more crowded as the weather gets hotter you may want optional sections to park your car. The Santee, Branch and Nunnery trails are not as crowded as many of the others. If we get a hard rain the Santee can get muddy in spots. Today it was super warm out and this old senior started sweating. Be sure to start carrying plenty of water. If you hike with a backpack as I do, it's time to change over to a pack that doesn't lay on you back. Use a frame pack that has air flow behind it. You can also wet your bandana in the stream to cool you off.