Hike Rating Guide
Participants are solely responsible to get themselves in necessary physical condition, and assume the risk of any and all injury from such participation.
Our rating system provides a useful general gauge of a hike's difficulty. It factors in distance, elevation gain, and roughness of trail, and is intended to help you choose hikes you will enjoy. For example, a hike rated 20 is not much harder or easier than an 18 or 22. But a 20 will be about twice as hard as a 10. In general, here's how the ratings work out:
These are more walks than hikes. They're close by, the trails are flat, and distances are generally short. An after-dinner walk around the block would be rated 1 or 2. Our one-hour brisk Wednesday night walk is a 3. The 7-mile hike along the Nat Greene and Piedmont Trails at Lake Brandt in Greensboro is an 8, as is a circuit of Salem Lake in Winston-Salem.
Most of these hikes will be in the lower mountains and foothills. Distances will be about 5-8 miles, with climbs ranging from 500-1000 feet; not easy if you're new to it! Trails will be dirt and rock, and not well groomed. If you rarely hike in the mountains, your first few hikes with the club should be in this range. But as long as you're in moderately good shape, you should be able to enjoy the outing. At a minimum, you'll want to carry water, rain gear, lunch, and snacks. Remember: a hike rated 20 is twice as hard as one rated 10. Our Sunday hikes are intentionally less strenuous than those scheduled on Saturday and almost always fall into this range.
Most Saturday hikes fall into this range and above. If you haven't hiked with the club before (but still you're in very good shape), we strongly suggest that your first hike be rated 25 or less. But even hikes in the low end of this range will be much too hard for most new members. Plan on an all-day trip, with at least 4 hours of continuous hiking in often rugged and steep terrain. At a minimum, be sure to pack two quarts of water, lunch, a snack, and rain gear.
These are strenuous hikes. They will usually be 10 or more miles, with climbs of 2000+ feet. They're appropriate only if you've done a number of lower-rated hikes with the club.
These hikes are usually 12+ miles with 3000+ feet of elevation gain. They're appropriate only for fit, experienced hikers.