The Hiking and Fitness Difficulty Ratings are based on the following criteria:
- Average Pace
- Estimated Stops
- Accumulated Elevation
- Steepness of Ascents and Descents
- Trail Surface and Type
Most abilities accommodated, little to no distance covered and little to no elevation gain experienced. highly accessible, generally family friendly in and around trailheads and staging areas.
Distances up to 2 miles, with minimal elevation gain and low grades, done at a slow pace with numerous stops for resting, regrouping, and/or interpretation, a high likelihood of shaded areas along the trail, mainly traveling on wide, paved or fire road surfaces, mostly flat or gently rolling terrain.
Distances up to 6 miles with expected elevation gain up to 1000 feet overall done at a moderate walking pace of no faster than 3.5 mph and some stops for resting, regrouping and/or interpretation, some shaded areas, mostly natural surface trails or roads and a few hills with moderate grades.
Distances around 10 miles (occasionally longer) and significant elevation gain up to 2000 feet or slightly more including few steep climbs, generally at a quick walking pace, but not running or jogging, only a few stops for resting/regrouping over natural surface trails, including some singletrack, and could be slightly technical in nature with little chance for shade.
Distances over 11 miles, and very high levels of elevation gain, well above 2000 feet accumulated, over steep, hilly, rugged terrain, covering a variety of natural surface trail types including much technical singletrack, few to no stops for resting/regrouping and at a quick pace potentially a jog or above and little to no shade along the trail. Due to the distances and elevation changes experienced on these routes, the time spent outside in the exposed environs is also generally expected to be very high.