Trail Rating System

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Dave

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When trying to describe a trail to someone else, via a trip report or when planning for a particular trail, it can be useful to have a standardized method of rating or describing the difficulty of the trail.

Please use this system for planning and discussing trails here on American Adventurist :thumbsup

Easy Trails


Easy (1)
County dirt road maintained for high clearance 2WD and 4WD use in all weather conditions.
-Driver Experience: Novice
-Minimum Tire Size: Stock
-Lockers: Not required

-Winch: Not required

Easy (2)
County dirt road with infrequent or light maintenance after rain or snow, 2WD high clearance with low gears may be OK, otherwise light duty 4WD.
-Driver Experience: Novice
-Minimum Tire Size: Stock
-Lockers: Not required

-Winch: Not required

Easy (3)
Road with frequent use, but seldom maintained. Dirt, sand and slick rock surfaces, with mud holes possible. 4WD recommended under most circumstances due to ruts or erosion. Solid recovery points recommended
-Driver Experience: Novice
-Minimum Tire Size: 31"
-Lockers: Not required

-Winch: Not required

Easy (4)
Road surface consisting of loose rock, dirt, and sand with some slickrock surfaces. Erosion, washes, gulches and rock steps no higher than 12". 4WD is recommended with solid recovery points, good ground clearance and driving skills. Aggressive tires and limited slip would be a plus. Water and mud is possible.
-Driver Experience: Novice
-Minimum Tire Size: 31"
-Lockers: Rear Locker Recommended

-Winch: Recommended

Moderate Trails


Moderate (5)
Trail surfaces are rutted, rocky and sandy with steps not exceeding 14", with considerable slickrock surfaces. Water not exceeding 12" with some mud possible. Good vehicle approach and departure angles with recovery points are required. Tall tires (33" plus) and traction added device (lockers, limited slips) is recommended. Above average driving skills are desirable.
-Driver Experience: Intermediate
-Minimum Tire Size: 33"
-Lockers: Rear Locker Recommended

-Winch: Recommended

Moderate (6)
Trails are difficult with considerable erosion damage repaired just enough to be passable. Water in excess of 12" is possible with mud conditions. Steps not exceeding 24". Tall tires (33" plus) with traction added devices (lockers, limited slips) and recovery points are required. Enhanced suspension travel and ground clearance are helpful. Excellent driving skills are recommended.
-Driver Experience: Intermediate
-Minimum Tire Size: 33"
-Lockers: Rear Locker Required

-Winch: Required

Moderate (7)
Challenging trail consists of rock; sand and considerable slickrock with many steps exceeding 24". Steep inclines and declines are prevalent. Enhanced off road equipment is required including locking devices (front & rear), tall tires, maximum vehicle ground clearance, and recovery points. Excellent driving skills are required. Vehicle mechanical or body damage is likely even for an experienced driver. Roll over possibilities exist.
-Driver Experience: Experienced
-Minimum Tire Size: 33"
-Lockers: Rear Locker Required / Front Locker Recommended

-Winch: Required

Difficult Trails


Difficult (8)
Challenging trail similar to #7 except a bit more extreme. Excellent driving skills are required. Vehicle mechanical or body damage is likely even for an experienced driver. Equipment or mechanical damage is probable.
-Driver Experience: Very Experienced
-Minimum Tire Size: 35"
-Lockers: Front and Rear Lockers Required
-Winch: Required

Difficult (9)
Extreme and beyond, similar to #8. Vehicle damage is likely. Excellent driving skills are required. Roll over is very common. Spare parts and full tools are recommended. Be prepared to spend the night on the trail. Beyond the capability of most modified stock vehicles. Repetitive winching required.
-Driver Experience: VERY Experienced
-Minimum Tire Size: 37"
-Lockers: Front and Rear Lockers Required
-Winch: Required


Extreme Trails


Extreme (10)
Rock buggy territory. Vehicle damage assured. Spare parts and full tools are recommended. Be prepared to spend the night on the trail. Street driven 4X4's should not attempt this trail. Modified factory vehicles will not be able to complete this trail. Repetitive winching required.
-Driver Experience: Veteran / Professional Driver
-Minimum Tire Size: 40"
-Lockers: Front and Rear Lockers Required
-Winch: Required
 
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