We knocked this trip out over 2 days and 1 night. The Rangers warned us these trails have several downed trees to work through.
We started from the parking lot with our day packs. We decided to tackle the upper loop because it is the easiest of the two. With that said, the Upper loop is moderately strenuous at times.
You hike in almost a mile before you get to the actual loop. We took a right at the fork to begin the loop. This choice provides a nice gradual descent, followed by a slow climb which was surprisingly easy on my knees. You cross a couple creeks before you come to some camp sites about 3/8 of the way through this loop. This great a good spot to camp if you want make this a 3 day 2 night journey. We continued across a bridge and continued to finish the loop.
We hiked the mile back out to our car in the parking lot and switched to our much heavier overnight packs. We made great time knocking out 14 miles in just over 5 hours.
We headed back down to start the lower loop. Warning this trail has a lot of downed trees. The trail is generally easy to follow, and paths have been made around many of the downed trees. Watch out for snakes hiding in the fallen trees. This trail is rated difficult!
You again hike in about about a mile to begin this loop. We tooka right to head toward camp site #1. We made it to camp site # 1 about 4:45pm. We decided to make camp here at mile 16.3. It was 2.5 miles from the parking lot to camp site 1. There is a creek you pass right before you head up the hill to the camp sites. That's your water source. The campsite has an outhouse, but it's old and mice infested. The area around the outhouse is trashed!
It's important to rest up really well before journeying further past camp site 1. It's about 2.5 miles between campsite 1 and campsite 2. After exiting campsite 1 you are quickly met with a steep descent. This is followed by an equally tough and steep climb. Its rocky and its shades of the Fiery Gizzard at times (but not quite as torturous). This part is an ASSKICKER!!
At one point you may have thought you made it to campsite #2, unless it's clearly marked as camp site #2 then it's an illegal campsite.
After you reach camp site 2 you have about 7 miles left to hike, but it's much easier than the earlier sections.
From camp site 2 and on you are afforded with incredible views of different water falls. After crossing several bridges you will walk by the nature center. The loop ends and you walk a mile back out and you've just completed mile 27!!!!