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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is going to be kind of a newbie question, but can someone please explain the numbering system for rating trail dificulty? I see a number (or a range of numbers, 3-5 etc.) given to a trail as to show it's dificulty or technical rating, but is there a standard equation that is decided upon, or is it up to the magazine editor as to how hard "he" feels a trail is. Thanks in advance for the info!/wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif

Mike H.
1983 CJ-7 Laredo
1999 Dakota 4x4
/wwwthreads_images/icons/cool.gifo[[[[o
 
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As far as I know there is no standard trail rating that applies across the board. Moab Jeep Safari trail ratings are different than the Victor Valley ratings which are diferent than Jeep Jamboree ratings... Sure would be nice to have a standardized trail rating system though. Kind of like the ones at the ski resorts that all the "experienced" beginners ignore until they are looking down from the TOP of the chutes at Snowbird thinking " I'M GONNA DIE!!!, It didn't look this bad from the lift! ".

In order to help my fellow Off-Roaders, I volunteer. If you will all just send me cash for expenses I will go drive every trail in the U.S. and rate each one according to a standardized table which I will work out. I understand this will probably require many repeat runs of each and every trail over the course of several years, but with the support of my fellow Jeepers I am willing to undertake this daunting task.

Well...

It was worth a try, I could have gone Jeepin' for a living.

"My other car is a BULLDOZER"
 

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Even ski trail ratings vary. Black diamond means the "most difficult" way down at that particular hill, e.g. black diamond at Bunny Bump may be easier than the "easiest" trail at Horrible Hill.

-Dana

Tolerate the freedom of others or lose yours!

 
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Utahjeeper is right, it seems every event has it's oen rating. Sone don't even use numbers, the Chile Challenge in Las Cruces
for instance. They use extreme, hard, moderate and easy.

Brad (from the 4 Wheeling center of the universe, 4 corners USA)
 

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Like they all are saying, it's going to vary from event to event, and trail to trail. Here's something I copied from our club's newsletter:
Trail Rating Guides
Moab Jeep Safari Rating Guide:
1- All weather road; 4WD not needed.
1.5- Graded road; 4WD may be needed in poor weather.
2- Unimproved or rarely graded road. 4WD or extra clearance needed at times, with no special driving skills required.
2.5- Road rarely maintained, 4WD, good clearance, low gears often needed, with some extra care and a bit of driving experience useful.
3- Road in difficult terrain, rarely maintained, 4WD, good clearance, and low gears essential, with some driving skill and daring required.
3.5- Road in difficult terrain, probably maintained only by occasional users. Excellent stock truck or utility vehicle required, with considerable driving skill and daring needed.
4- Trail either never bladed or badly eroded. Stock vehicles are in jeopardy. Modifications for improved off-road performance and top driving skills needed.
(Original description written a few years ago by Jack Bickers: "with driving by World Class Yahoo Jeepers not much concerned with vehicle durability or personal safety." It is common to have as many as 10% of the vehicles experience major mechanical failures (gears, axles, driveshafts) on these trails.)

Trail Ratings for Jeep Jamborees:
Every Jamboree trail is rated from 1 to 10, based on the overall trail, not just on one or two tough spots. Rain can increase ratings by 1-2 points. Tow hooks required on all trails.
• 1-3: Obstacles that are easy to navigate. In optimum weather conditions, some of these trails may not require the continual use of four-wheel drive (4WD).
• 4-7: Moderately demanding trails on which 4WD is required. You may encounter a variety of challenges, including mudholes, boulders, and stream crossings, on the trail.
• 8-9: The likelihood of getting stuck is considerably higher. Mud holes here may be deep and rock climbing will be more arduous.
• 10: Reserved for the most demanding off-road trip in the country-the Rubicon Trail.

And here in Indiana we have the Badlands (Attica) Rating Guide:
Green trail: Moderate. Tow Hooks required.
Orange trail: Tough. Lockers and winch suggested. Possible body damage.
Pink trail: Extreme! Lockers and winch required. Body damage likely.

If it weren't for the trip home, the cost of repairs, and the nagging from my wife, ...Heck, I'd try 'em all!


Keep on Jeepin'
Scott
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everyone! That clears it up a bit. Just some info that I had no idea what people were talking about when they said a trail was a "3". I like the terms: moderate, difficult etc. but I guess that is open to interpretation as well. What may be moderate for a Jeep with Dana 60's, lockers, roll cage, 35's and a 350 would be disasterous for a stock CJ.

Mike H.
1983 CJ-7 Laredo
1999 Dakota 4x4
/wwwthreads_images/icons/cool.gifo[[[[o
 
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Besides the difference in ratings there is a difference of perspective. Some trails, clubs, organizations etc rate, drive and gear toward a real trail that starts somewhere and ends somewhere else. The idea being that the trail, it's sights, the scenery etc are the most important aspect of the "adventure". The more difficult trails are still trails, just more difficult to travel but the idea is still "go somewhere and see the sights".
The other perspective focuses on the obsticles themselves. I know one trail that you can see the entire trail from anywhere on the trail. It is about 600 yards long. Takes about 6 hours. We really should have a couple of names that differentiate between these two perspectives. Trail runners vs obsticle runners. We already have rock crawlers and mud runners. Perhaps the rock crawlers are really the obsticle runners as opposed to trail runners.
The Jeep Jamboree is a good example of trail runners. Not that there aren't some difficult trails - there are, but the Jamborees lean toward sight seeing. Las Cruces on the other hand has some very senic trails, but for the most part the emphasis is on difficulty and obsticles.
Generally the more difficult "sight seeing" trails, whether they are numbered 4 and 4 plus or 8 or pink are still geared toward going somewhere and seeing something. The crawler crowd or obsicle runners or whatever you want to call them - their extreme trails, 4's, 5's, pink, green or whatever are not geared toward the sights, although the sights are often grand. They instead are geared toward preventing vehicles from completing the trail.
It's all great fun, and you are right. The trail numbering system is sometimes confusing, and getting numbers from trail runners and then from obsticle runners can make it even more confusing.
One last thought. A trail is often rated (trail runners rate) by the most difficult obsticle on that trail and whether or not there are bypasses. Crude example: A trail from Dallas to Ft. Worth. 30 miles of highway on a one way road so that you cannot turn around. At the 15 mile point there is a 4 foot verticle cement wall accross the "trail". That obsticle makes this trail extreme because it is very difficult and there is no way around it. Another more real example: A ten mile trail through the mountains that is a 2 wd trail. Along each side of this trail are obsticles that you can do or not do. The 4 foot verticle cement wall, a mud pit, 100 yards up the side of a mountain with loose rock, an 80 foot tall bolder, some severe off camber trails along side the regular trail, places where should you roll over you stop rolling about 1,000 feet later and 1,000 feet lower, etc. This is an easy trail simply because you can get from one to the other in 2 wd should you choose to do that.
Most of the time you can ask someone who has run the trail before. Tell him the mods on your veh and how serious you are about possible damage, and he can tell you pretty quick whether you should try it or not.

Doug '97 TJ
My Web Site
 
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