My husband and I did this hike last week (9/18/19) and bought the permit via the website a few weeks beforehand and chose the 6:30am-12:30pm timeslot. We got there right at 6:30am (gorgeous drive there seeing sunrise at Tunnels Beach!!) We had decided we would do the hike to the beach and then on to the Falls. 4.5 miles each way, so 9 miles round trip. We wore our good hiking boots and packed lots of water and pistachios/peanut butter sandwiches/granola bars.
The hike to the Beach was pretty easy. and GORGEOUS. The only difficult part of this hike was the stream you had to cross over. Beach was beautiful but not meant for swimming which I later read- I went in to swim and the first wave knocked me over and my head hit the sand. Im fine but had sand in my hair for 4 days! We proceeded to the Falls. WEAR YOUR BUG SPRAY! I didn't and got bit up. This was a a great hike the first half and then got much more challenging. Multiple streams to cross via large boulders, some pretty steep parts, and just kinda difficult. But AWESOME!! Beautiful Bamboo forrests, streams, and then the waterfall itself was certainly beautiful and relaxing. We didn't see a soul on the trail from the beach to the falls but saw a handful of other people there once we got there. We ate and went back. We arrived back at the car at 12:40pm. Definitely took the whole 6 hours if you stop at both the Beach and the Falls! Hope this is helpful!