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Trip Difficulty and Ratings

Below is an explanation of what you can reasonably expect the difficulty ratings to indicate for standard day-hikes. We would like to remind both Trip Leaders AND those participating in trips, that what one person thinks of as an "easy" hike, someone else might call "moderate", no matter what a rating system says. This rating system is intended to provide a reasonable standard of reference, and is meant to be used in concert with your knowledge and experience with your own fitness level.

Trip Participants - please keep in mind that there are many variables when calculating trip difficulty so when in doubt, ask questions! Trip Leaders want you to enjoy your trip and they will happily answer any questions you may have.

Trip Leaders - please consult this guide and provide your best-possible match. For example do not rate a "difficult trip" as "easy" simply because you think it is an easy trip...for you. Consult the chart and try to represent the trip accurately.

Difficulty Level Description
  • someone in poor/fair hiking condition
  • trails are generally in good condition
  • less than 4 miles round trip with up to 750 ft elevation gain or less then 5 miles round trip on a flat trail with little elevation gain
  • someone in good/moderate hiking condition
  • trails in good condition, some rough spots, but no extremely steep sections
  • less than 6 miles round trip  with up to 1,500 ft elevation gain or 5-8 miles round trip on a trail with elevation gain less than 1000 ft
  • someone in good hiking condition
  • trails in good/fair condition, many rough spots, may have short steep areas.
  • less than 8 miles round trip with up to 2,500 ft elevation gain or 9-10 miles round trip on a trail with elevation gain less than 1500 ft
  • someone in good/excellent hiking condition
  • trails in good/fair condition, rough and steep,  with possible exposure or remoteness
  • less then 8 miles round trip with up to 3,000ft elevation gain or 10-12 miles round trip on a elevation gain up to 2000 ft.
Very Difficult
  • someone in excellent hiking condition
  • trails in fair/bad condition, exposure and/or extreme remoteness
  • less then 10 miles round trip with up to 3,500ft of elevation gain or 12-14 miles on a trail with elevation gain under 2500 ft.
  • someone in exceptional hiking/climbing condition, experience required
  • trails are not always available, route-finding or map skills may be required
  • more than 4,000ft of elevation gain for any distance and/or:
  • more than 14 miles round trip
  • technical aspects/special equipment required (ice axe, helmet, crampons)

**This chart is for general reference and should never be used as your sole source of information.
**Any hike can/may include parts of all of these ratings - Trip leaders feel free to add special notes to your trip descriptions to more accurately represent them.

This rating system was developed by a committee of OutVentures members. The Board would like to thank the committee for their work!



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