The East summit trail is significantly steeper and more strenuous than the West summit trail. Personally I love the challenge of the the hand-over-hand boulder climbing, so I go for the East Summit trail on the way up. I took my mini Schnauzer along the first time, but came to regret it near the top when even the rock faces get a little vertical! We made it ok, but no more puppies on the East side, and I wouldn't want to descend that route. The West side is a good steep, steady climb through forest for about 2/3 of it, and the last 1/3 is like boulder stairs. It pays to be in shape, but it's not nearly as steep as the East summit trail. The view is amazing and you can see Little Rock way off in the distance as well as the green AR country and Lake Maumelle. For an intense workout start out at the visitors center, hike to the East summit trailhead, climb up the East side, down the West, around the base trail and back to the visitor's center. Full day's hike and about 10 miles.