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Terrain Difficulty

We've attempted to quantify the difficulty of the hiking trips listed here on our site. However, it's nearly impossible to do an accurate comparison solely based on numbers that reflects all aspects of the trip experience. Since we only have data relating to the terrain, we've named this strictly a "Terrain Difficulty," as our calculation does not take into account trail quality and route-finding difficulty, both of which are important considerations before going on a trip.

This information is not something that can be accurately quantified, and hiking books by different authors and publishers use varying scales to compare these. Our calculation is based on three numbers: elevation gain, hike length, and trip days required. The calculation is derived from a formula that factors in each of these components, ultimately yielding a number on a scale of 1-5.

The formula:

    (   Elevation Gain   ) 
(--------------------)
( One-Way Mileage ) Round-Trip Mileage
---------------------------- + ----------------------
100  Trip Days Required

The result is divided by 3.3 and rounded to the nearest whole number in order to place the metric into roughly a 1-5 scale.

 

Map Legend

Camping & Parks
Car Accessible
Boat-Only Access

Hikes (by terrain difficulty)
Easy (1 of 5)
Intermediate (2 of 5)
Difficult (3 of 5)
Most Difficult (4 of 5)
Epic (5 of 5)

Read about how we calculate terrain difficulty...