First off, the trail finder decription states that this is "one of the most challenging trails in SC". The adjective could be changed to "brutal" without reverting to hyperbole. That this is an understatement is evident about 10 seconds after parking the car at the eastern trailhead. The trail is essentially vertical. I knew I was in for a big time when I saw the "Yeti Crossing" sign.
That being said, this has got to be one of the most rewarding hikes I've been on. The scenery at the falls and the mountain vistas were well worth the bruises, scratches and aching muscles at the end of the day. The trail was relatively dry. Had it been slick with rain, dew, snow or ice, I'm not sure it could have done. The steepness of the elevation change cannot be overemphasized. After the falls, the trail climbs in a series of switchbacks that seem to never stop. Once at the top you are rewarded with a brief level section and then you start down. This is the truly hairy part. After the climb up, the fatigue and rubber legs make the downhill sections very scary. Add that to the narrowness of the trail, the treacherous footing (roots and loose rock) and the incline and the scene is set for some interesting hiking.
If I had to offer anyone any advice as to how to do this trail, it would be to plan for at least 8 hours to hike, take at least 4 liters of water per person, and TAKE YOUR TIME. Picking the day and time of year is important also. You should shoot for cool and dry after the leaves have turned. This trail has the potential to be truly dangerous, but with common sense and some planning it can be as rewarding for you as it was for me and my hiking buddy. I truly enjoyed this hike and feel a great sense of accomplishment at the successful completion of it.