I had an good time on this trail this weekend (9/22/2019). The trail description may not clearly indicate the trail which has a section under temporary construction accurately. After the section of the trail as described "…Just before the trail begins a steeper descent, an unmarked side trail on the right leads to a limited west-facing viewpoint from open rocks..." I passed by the unmarked trail turnoff and instead continued on the red triangle on the white blazes trail. The red triangle on white blazes trail ended at a stream crossing and there was yellow tape trail appearing to be under temporary construction which came around and after passing under the horizontal yellow tape and turning left, I rejoined joined with the red triangle on white blazes trail. The recommended unmarked trail was very muddy and almost unpassable. The trail was challenging with various terrains and interesting views.
In some cases, the distances given for the hikes on our website are just estimates. However, in the case of hikes in Harriman-Bear Mountain State Parks, all of the trails have been carefully measured with a measuring wheel. These detailed measurements appear in the guidebook Harriman Trails: A Guide and History, the new edition of which should be available within a week. So, the measurement of the length of this hike should be exactly correct.
I have found pedometers to be quite inaccurate, especially when hiking on rocky, steep trails. Remember, a pedometer measures distances by counting your footsteps, and it is normal to take a shorter step when negotiating rocky or steep terrain. So I am not entirely surprised that your pedometer would normally record a greater distance than that indicated by measuring the trails with a wheel.
You are indeed correct; it seems that, in the course of uploading the hike description to the web site, two paragraphs were omitted. I have fixed the hike description, and the missing paragraphs have been restored. Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention!
As to your second question, portions of the last part of the route follow footpaths where you must pay careful attention to the blazes. I would not recommend doing this part of the hike when it is nearly dark.