The hardest part of the Devil's elbow is actually the climb out from the loop. There's also a good amount of shade so this loop is the most likely place to see mud. The worst is right at the beginning and can make the climb all the more challenging. I like to go counter clockwise because there is a really fun, short down hill section. Once you're on the loop, there is a short climb and then some nice opportunities for scenic views of the mountains.