08/20/2018 (sih, cvg) Very nice hike. Unusual ecosystem relative to other Hood trails; the trail south of the creek is open/partial shade with meadows with exotic rock outcroppings and more open forests, almost Asian in flavor. Lots of blowdown, but because trail is shared with mountain bikers, only a couple of trees across trail and overall trail condition excellent, signage is current. The return trail north of the creek is more familiar (mostly partial shade), especially first part along creek. Small patch of black huckleberries near end of return trail were ripe. Nice creekside rest/lunch spot midway where return trip (and uphill) begin.
Only downside is the down/up grade; about 2000 ft elevation loss going down, and resultant long grind coming up. Would definitely recommend doing counterclockwise like we did to maximize enjoying scenery and views (although very smoky on this day) on the south trail during descent. NOTE: Elevation profile obviously wonky; Wikiloc somehow reset at beginning of return leg.
Access at Fifteenmile Campground trailhead, paved roads all the way. On warm August Monday, only other peoples seen were couple at campground with dead battery in their van who left after jump. No one on trail, although tire tracks indicated recent bikers.