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BellaOnline's Hiking & Backpacking Editor

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Hike Rating System

Guest Author - Gregory A. Kompes

Iíve adopted the following hike descriptions from the various parks Iíve hiked, including the Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area in Nevada. Once you get to know your own abilities, you can plan your hikes with confidence.

Easy
Generally, well suited hike for anyone that likes to walk. Easy hikes involve relatively smooth, even trails and only gentle hills. Long and flat hikes, no matter the distance, are often rated easy. There wonít be any big climbs, spill-overs, or rock scrambling. Donít expect any 90 degree knee bends on this hike. And, you can take your dog on easy hikes.

Technical: 4 hours or less. 6 miles or less. Mostly level ground or only slight inclines.

Easy/Moderate
Expect and easy/moderate hike to include more hills and larger elevation gains. Expect uphill and downhill walking. Still easy enough terrain to take your dog along.

Technical: 4 hours or less. 7 miles or less. Elevation gains less than 500 feet per mile.

Moderate
Moderate hikes gain 500-800 feet per mile. Expect a moderate hike to ascend steadily at a gain difficult for an unconditioned person to comfortably handle. Expect 90 degree knee bending obstacles and terrain that can include smooth stone and ground, loose stone, light (easy) scramble or climb. Generally, no dogs.

Technical: 4 to 5 hours. 8 miles or less. Varied terrain. Elevation gains and losses of 1000 to 2500 feet.

Moderate/Difficult
A moderate/difficult hike will be a greater challenge than the moderate hike. Greater elevation gains and falls, even more varied terrain and rock scrambling and pour overs to climb. Generally a mix of mostly moderate hiking with a few difficult challenges. No dogs.

Technical: 4 to 6 hours. 8 miles or less. Varied, challenging terrain. Elevation gains and losses of up to 4000 feet.

Difficult
The hike is clearly difficult with steep inclines and often rough footing and/or rock scrambles. The elevation gain is usually very steep: greater than 800 to 1,000 feet or more per mile, often several miles at a time. There may be sections that include steep uphill and downhills, scrambles, boulders and also may include some short distances of exposure. No Dogs

Technical: 5+ hours. Up to 13 miles. Varied terrain with consistent ascents and descents. Scrambles and pour overs. Elevation gains and losses of up to 4000 feet.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Gregory A. Kompes. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Gregory A. Kompes. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.

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