its mainly a moderate-strenuous hike for the first 3.5 miles - up mount misery, hill of pines and rattlesnake hill. but there is very minimal scrambling (maybe 3 times total?) - so i would not say strenuous or very strenuous. after these 3 hills/mountains, you come down to arthur's pond which is quite nice, then you have a long carriage road which is not just moderate, it's easy. if you were trail running you could easily run this section. then you turn back into the forest to scale black rock mountain - come back, see ben's bridge again, but don't cross it (otherwise you do the whole thing again) but go left up the red marked blazes to the parking lot.
things we saw:
we saw several mushrooms including a HUGE mushroom almost about a foot in diameter. we saw lots of frogs and newts (orange color) as well as huge worms (centipedes?) we also saw a snake on the side of the trail. and we ate from the many blueberry bushes that were ripe of blueberries. however at some point (on black rock) we saw another plant that had berries, but they were not blueberries. we're not sure what these were, they look exactly like blueberries but the plant is different than the blueberry bushes. the views are quite nice and the trail is well cleared for the most part.
a couple of things to note:
(1) the tower vue trail is actually not easy to miss, it is quite hard to miss and quite obvious. it did take us 5 min to get there, however i do think the wording here should be different and qualitative, bc not everyone walks at the same pace. perhaps the actual distance would be helpful.
(2) at the end, the last summit on black rock mountain the description says "The trail turns right and descends gradually. With the wide White Oak Road visible ahead, the trail bears left and joins a woods road." but this is not completely right however, the trail doesn't turn right, you need to head back and turn left from the way you came (or turn right before you climb atop the rock and see the views) - as noted by the user @kleepet it looks like: "When you reach the top of Black Rock Mountain, the views are to your left, and it looks like the trail goes off that way, too. It does NOT. That is an old trail, marked with painted footprints that peter out. Note where you leave the real trail BEFORE you check out the views. It has an arrow with two points painted on the rock."
we ended up following the old trail with painted blue footprints that peter out - and promptly got lost. There is a trail but then it just ends abruptly. For us, it was fine b/c we saw that it crosses the white trail at some point. but we followed the directions, not the comments and now that i'm seeing it, now i know to bring the comments with me. we also have the New York Walk Book so we'll be bringing that with us as well. if we were to do this again, i would look at kleepet's notes one more time.
all in all, the directions were generally good - and the hike was good, thank you!