This article gives a good overview of the trail, talking about how it's got a little bit of everything - scenic mountain views, nice passages through glades of trees, high desert, some running water, greenery near the creeks, etc. At the beginning of the loop, I went left, which takes you up towards Church's Pond. Most of the writes up of the hike are correct, talking about how this can be painful - you cover the elevation gain in less than 3 miles, with one mile of that just being steep, and then the rest of it is switchbacks. If you go to the right, the elevation gain is much more gradual.
The whole thing took me around 3 hours and 20 minutes. The signs around there say to give yourself 6 to 8 hours, which could make sense if you're a family, or going at a leisurely pace. I tried to push myself a bit, though nothing like these two young ladies who asked me for directions. I'd guess they were between two or three miles in, and they were trail running, doing the loop in the opposite direction, and were asking me how long it would take. I told them I'd gone around 2.5 hours, and was just hiking, and warned then the last 2 or 3 miles was pretty killer, having to go up and down maybe a 1,000 ft (my guess was woefully wrong here). I wonder how long it took them to finish. They were just in running clothes, and weren't carrying water, so it might have been a bit brutal, particularly at the higher elevations, where there were still patches of snow in the shady areas.
A little fatigue in my quads today, but definitely a nice hike, especially with how accessible it is.