Hiked from the South Rim trailhead to Indian Gardens and back two days after Christmas with my girlfriend. Stunning hike from the ice and snow into the desert and back. I thought this trail was relatively well maintained, and that the switchbacks made it an easy climb. The only downside was the large number of tourists, but it is the Grand Canyon. My girlfriend thought it was a little harder than I did, but she still thought it was doable. Full disclosure here...both of us are in good shape and regularly hike/run/bike hills in the 2,000-3,000 foot range. The views of the canyon in winter are amazing and cannot be understated. Some of the best views are from Indian Garden looking up the trail, as well as the "standard tourist" views from the rim looking out over the Canyon. All very stunning. It took us about 6 hours to go down and back. Started down at 10:30 am, had lunch at Indian Garden and started up at 1:30 pm. We were at the rim around 4:30 pm. We could have made Plateau Point had we left at 8:00 or 8:30 am. The mules...I cannot say how many times I saw mule @$!*% on the trail and was happy it wasn't 100 degrees and stinking to high heaven. The ice on the upper portions of the trail made it easier than hiking in the summer I think, alhough in-step crampons and walking sticks helped too. Dressed in layers and had no problem with changing temps. Hydration as well was not an issue as it was 30-60 degrees and we each had 2-3 liters of water/powerade during the hike. I would absolutely recommend this trail, just be prepared...for the elements and the climbing, but also the large number of tourists on the rim and the upper couple of miles of the trail.