There are a few pretty rocky sections, as well as a lot of tall stone steps on the side near LeConte Canyon that can be easy to trip over if one is not careful. So although the trail is not overly steep in most places (especially if simply looking at the mileage and elevation gain), it takes longer than another, less technical trail would.
From the South Lake trailhead, this trail starts out following the upper rim of South Lake and eventually passes into a small forest. The trail is pleasant and not steep, but gradually ascends through the forest, going up a couple of rocky switchbacks and crossing small foot bridges as it crosses drainages before meeting up with the Chocolate-Ruwau Loop Trail
. From this junction, take the obvious, main trail to the right and continue, and soon the trail reaches the lower shores of Long Lake.
The trail starts down really close to the lake, but eventually rises up above the lake, which allows great views of the lake, as well as Hurd Peak and some of the surrounding peaks, like Mount Goode. As the trail nears the upper (southern) end of Long Lake, it passes another junction with the Chocolate-Ruwau Loop Trail
, and continues past a series of smaller alpine lakes.
Not long after, the trail passes Saddlerock Lake, which is a spectacular lake with a great mountainous backdrop. Then, the trail passes by the beautifully turquoise Bishop Lake. At this point, the basin to the east also opens up enough to get a good glimpse of the Inconsolable Range, an appropriately named range of jagged peaks and spires. After leaving Bishop Lake, the trail starts to ascend a little bit more steeply through a series of switchbacks that appear to have been carved into a cliff.
The trail then reaches Bishop Pass, which offers great views of Mount Agassiz and Dusy Basin. However, the best views (in my opinion) come into view as the trail drops into Dusy Basin and the main section of the Palisades come into view, which is one of the most stunning subranges within the Sierra Nevadas. Just looking out into Dusy Basin with all of the talus and jagged peaks inspires.
Eventually, the trail drops further into Dusy Basin, passes by some pretty alpine lakes, and passes through some marshy terrain, while still getting new and incredible views of the surrounding peaks. After leaving Dusy Basin, the trail continues down toward LeConte Canyon, and hits a long series of switchbacks that are littered with stone steps that increase the technicality significantly. The trail crosses over a bridge right in front of a beautiful waterfall, and if you keep your eye out, there are a few spots from which the Devil's Crags can be seen. Eventually, the trail ends at the John Muir Trail (Also the PCT at this point - PCT: Crabtree Meadow to Tuolumne Meadow (Yosemite)
near the LeConte Ranger Station in LeConte Canyon.