Trail Rating Criteria

Tread Width

The average width of the active tread or beaten path of the trail.

Tread Surface

The material and stability of the tread surface is a determining factor in the difficulty of travel on the trail. Some descriptive terms include: hardened (paved or surfaced), firm, stable, variable, widely variable, loose and unpredictable.

Trail Grade (maximum and average)

Maximum grade is defined as the steepest section of trail that is more than approximately 10 feet in length and is measured in percent with a clinometer. Average grade is the steepness of the trail over its entire length. Average grade can be calculated by taking the total elevation gain of the trail, divided by the total distance, multiplied by 100 to equal a percent grade.

Natural Obstacles and Technical Trail Features

Objects that add challenge by impeding travel. Examples include: rocks, roots, logs, holes, ledges, drop-offs, etc. The height of each obstacle is measured from the tread surface to the top of the obstacle. If the obstacle is uneven in height, measure to the point over which it is most easily ridden.

Technical Trail Features are objects that have been introduced to the trail to add technical challenge. Examples include: rocks, logs, elevated bridges, teeter-totters, jumps, drop-offs, etc. Both the height and the width of the technical trail feature are measured.