Memphis Outdoor Adventures Message Board Chit Chat › Hike rating system?

Hike rating system?

C B.
user 21795371
Memphis, TN
Post #: 4
A friend of mine in upstate NY was telling me about a hiking group they have up there. They use a rating system to give people an idea of what to expect from each outing, based on 3 criteria: the length of the hike, how fast the hike leader usually takes things, and the terrain:

A+=13 Miles or More
A=8 to 12 Miles
B=5 to 8 Miles
C=Under 5 Miles

Leader's Pace:

A=Very Difficult

Example Rating
A+1A (13+ Miles, Fast Pace, Very Difficult Terrain)
B2C (5-8 Miles, Moderate Pace, Average Terrain)

Do you think our group would benefit from something like this? Not this exact system, but something similar?

C B.
user 21795371
Memphis, TN
Post #: 5
For some examples, I took a look at the discussions on Herb Parsons and Stanky Creek. Here's what typical ratings might be for them:

Herb Parsons
7 miles, easy terrain, usually 2-4 hours (1.75 - 3.5 mph)
Rating would be: B2D (B: 5-8 miles, 2: Moderate pace, D: Easy terrain)

Stanky Creek
9 miles, "terrain varies," no time-frame given
A typical rating might be: A2C (A: 9-12 miles, 2: Moderate pace, C: Average terrain)
Leonard T.
user 13383667
Memphis, TN
Post #: 2
I like the system but terrain might be a bit ambiguous. What about substituting it with elevation gain instead. Some people can walk for miles easily but add in some elevation gain and it becomes a lot harder. So how about this for the elevation:

A: 1001' +
B: 400' to 1000'
C: 0' to 399'
C B.
user 21795371
Memphis, TN
Post #: 6
A good point, Leonard. Of course, this system was from a group in upstate New York, so they're dealing with slightly more rugged terrain than we have around here.

I like the specific elevation idea, though!
A former member
Post #: 10
I am going to agree with Leonard. What is easy for one person may be very difficult for another. I think the elevation idea would be OK. Not real sure what a good system would be; maybe beginner, intermediate, ect or flat, varied. I bet Howard would have a good suggestion.
Leonard T.
user 13383667
Memphis, TN
Post #: 3
Here is a site that attempts to calculate out calories burned based on mileage, elevation, bodyweight and backpack weight for those who might be interested:­.

You have to add the uphill and downhill calories burned to get the total.

Sherry W.
Germantown, TN
Post #: 1
I hiked in the Lake Tahoe area recently, and the guidebook I used had a rating system that worked reasonably well. It gave each hike a rating of 1 to 5.
1. Short trail. Generally level. Can be completed in one hour or less.
2. Route of 1 to 3 miles, with some up and down, that can be completed in one to two hours.
3. Longer route, up to 5 miles, with uphill and/or downhill sections.
4. Long or steep route, perhaps more than 5 miles or climbs of more than 1,000 vertical feet.
5. The most severe, both long and steep. More than 5 miles long with climbs of more than 1,000 vertical feet.

The Hiking Great Smokey Mountains National Park book uses a simpler rating system for its trails:
Easy - Suitable for any hiker, including children and elderly people; without serious elevation gain or hazardous sections.
Moderate - Suitable for hikers who have some experience and at least an average fitness level. Probably not suitable for children or the elderly, unless they have above-average fitness. The hike usually includes some hills.
Difficult - Suitable for experienced hikers with an above-average fitness level; sometimes with serious elevation gain and possibly some hazardous conditions.

I think any rating system like these only works for hikers with at least a little bit of experience - enough to know what they don't know. Some screening questions like "how many miles did you walk last week?" might help people determine what they're capable of. Hope this helps.
A former member
Post #: 12
Yeah, so I think the 1 to 5 rating is pretty good.

I think that using easy, intermediate, and hard might be a little too subjective. Again, what is easy to me may not be easy for someone else.

Having said that, I think an easy rating system would work better, so maybe a 1 to 5 rating... It gives a little more flexibility, but it is not too complicated.

Just my 2 cents.
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