Hiking Trail Rating System
As you’ve probably noticed, we like to have a little fun with our hiking trail rating categories. Simply placing trails on a traditional difficulty scale seemed so, well, boring. Please don’t interpret this to mean we don’t take the ratings seriously, because that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Our goal with every trail review is to provide accurate, useful information to prospective hikers. The time estimates are created by taking our completion time and adding a range for those with a little more or less pep in their step. Difficulty categorizations are based on the average, fair-weather day, which is to say your experiences may vary significantly based on the elements and time of year. Ultimately, only you can judge what is and isn’t within your limits. There’s no shame in admitting you aren’t ready for some trails. Hiking is truly a better safe than sorry sport.
The rating categorizations are:
Nature Walk trails are typically under three miles in length with well established, easygoing trails mostly free of rocks, roots and other hazards. As a result Nature Walk trails are great for people of all ages and hiking abilities, and are sometimes even handicap accessible.
Pack the baby in the Kelty and lace up the older kids’ boots, these trails are loved by all. Family Hikes are typically under five miles long with a good mix of moderate climbing, challenging terrain and not-so-tough stuff to have a fun-filled family adventure.
Weekend Warrior trails pack a healthy heaping of distance, elevation gain and challenging terrain. A day hike on one of these gems will typically take 6-8 hours, covering 6-10 miles with some significant calorie-burning ups. Oh, yeah, there will also be rocks. Lots of rocks. We are, after all, hiking in the Northeast.
Pack the Aleve
Couch potatoes need not apply. Pack the Aleve trails will kick the fannies of experienced hikers. The difference between these and Weekend Warrior trails may simply be a product of total mileage in some cases, but it almost always is a result of prolonged, steep, tortuous, hiking. No pain, no terrain gain…right?
Sign the Will
From Katahdin’s Knife Edge to winter hiking Mt. Washington, these trails likely won’t put you six-feet under, but if you aren’t careful, they just might. The trademark here is extreme terrain that could make falls tragic in the summer, and avalanches a distinct possibility in winter. Whatever you do, avoid these hikes at all costs in inclement weather.