Mountain Bike Trail Ratings
We rate mountain bike trails on a scale from 0 to 5 (0 being the easiest, 5 the most difficult). The ratings are based on those with an intermediate experience level.
Rating: 0.5 (Ride in the Park)
Paved bike paths or dirt roads that are maintained year round. Gentle grades and no technical obstacles. An easy ride in the park that anyone who can ride a bike can enjoy.
Rating: 1.0 (Easy)
This is a wide, dedicated bike path of hard packed dirt without any significant obstacles or hills, is relatively short and not dangerous. Kids can do this without any problems.
Rating: 1.5 (Novice)
This is a wide, dedicated bike path of hard packed dirt without any significant obstacles or hills and not dangerous. The difference between an easy and novice trail is the novice trail is longer. Most kids can do this without any problems.
Rating: 2.0 (Beginner)
A wide dirt trail with small obstacles (ruts, small rocks, tree roots). It can contain some hills that can cause you to breathe hard. It does not contain any dangerous portions. Most kids can do this, though some may have to walk their bike around some obstacles and up some of the steeper grades. Example: Sedona’s Bell Rock Bike Path or Rail X.
Rating: 2.5 (Learner)
A dirt trail that requires some precision steering to navigate through rocks and cacti. Obstacles are few and can be ridden by most riders. Hills can be a little steep. No dangerous spots (greater than five foot drop offs near the trail). Kids can do most of the trail without help or walking their bikes. Example: Fantasy Island's Bunny Loop or Dove Mountain.
Rating: 3.0 (Medium)
A narrow dirt trail that precision steering is required to navigate through rocks and cacti. Most obstacles (medium rocks, hills, etc.) can be ridden by riders with some experience. Hills can be steep and elevation gain considerable (riders not in the best of shape may need frequent rests). A few dangerous spots (greater than five foot drop offs near the trail) may be encountered. Kids may do considerable walking and be scared in a few sections. Examples: 24-hour trail, the Chutes.
Rating: 3.5 (Challenging)
A narrow trail with large obstacles, steep, long grades. Experience is required. May include portions of “hike-a-bike” except for those advanced riders. Most kids will find these very challenging. Examples: Templeton trail in Sedona or Kentucky Camp.
Rating: 4.0 (Difficult)
A narrow trail littered with large obstacles, steep, long grades. Experience is required. May include some large portions of “hike-a-bike” except for those very advanced riders. High drop offs where, if you fall, broken bones are likely can be encountered. Examples: The Boulders and parts of Broken Arrow trail in Sedona.
Rating: 4.5 (Advanced)
These trails cross extremely rugged terrain with very steep inclines, large boulders, and dangerous situations. These trails require advanced experience, strong legs, lungs and heart. Example: Butterfly Trail.
Rating: 5.0 (Extreme)
Crazy obstacles, vertical drops, steep grades, long distances, high-degree of danger. Examples: Mormon Trail at South Park in Phoenix (which I don't even try to attempt :-).