How to read trail descriptions and ratings
The following describes how to read our trail rating descriptions. Please note that we don't assume to have all the information and that it is current. Conditions change. Policies change. Use the following as a guide, but do your own research prior to starting any adventure.
Name: The name of this particular adventure.
Rating: Our overall rating for the adventure based on a whole bunch of things: amount of fun, scenic beauty, history, points of interest, etc. Ratings range from 0 to 5 stars, with 0 being don't bother and 5 being you'd be insane to miss this adventure. Of course, this is a highly individual rating. One persons fun can be another persons worst day. Read the description of the adventure to see if you agree with our rating.
Author: Who authored the adventures write up.
Avg. User Rating: This is the average rating based on the "Rate the Adventure" poll for each trail.
Type: Type of adventure (4WD, Hiking, Biking, etc.)
Difficulty: Trails (hiking, biking, and 4WD) are rated on a scale from 0 to 5 in increments of 0.5. This is to keep them consistent with each other and with the most widely used 4WD rating system. These ratings are based on a set experience level (moderate experience level). We understand that hard core hikers, bikers and four-wheelers may consider our medium and advanced ratings as beginner and moderate, respectively. This website is not intended to be used by only those who are into extreme adventures. We rate the trails for weekend warriors, not hard core enthusiasts. Our suggestion is to take a trail and compare our ratings to your own, then scale future trails accordingly. Please read each trail rating system before heading out for an adventure. Also, be advised that trail conditions can change due to weather, time and maintenance. All trails have been rated (unless noted otherwise) on a good weather day (no rain, snow, etc.). An easy trail may become difficult or impassible when it's raining or snowing. Click on the links below to view specific trail ratings.
Time: This is the time it takes to complete the adventure. This does NOT include time it takes to get to the trailhead. And this time may be significant. Although an estimate is provided, this is a huge variable, depending on fitness, skill levels, amounts of breaks, sightseeing done, etc. Some people can hike six miles in an hour and a half, others it will take most of the day. Some may take a two hour lunch in the middle of a trail while other eat on the run. Times given are approximate and a based on a medium level of fitness and skill level with some breaks rolled in. Actual times can vary greatly. Use your best judgment based on length of trip, difficulty, etc.
Region: The region in Arizona the adventure is located in.
Length: Approximate length of trail. Side trips and unless noted otherwise, distance traveled to the trailhead are not included.
Elevation gain/loss/change: How much elevation gain and loss is achieved for the trip. Remember for a loop trail, the net gain/loss is zero, but you still may have some dramatic gains and losses along the trail. Change in Elevation: Difference in elevation from the start to end points (meaningful for thru trips or trips with different start and end points).
Type: What kind of trail is it? A loop, out and back, modified loop (one with options to get you back to your starting point).
Avg Elevation: Approximate average elevation for the trail. Gives an idea of what kind of weather (temperatures) and foliage to expect.
Best time to go: Some adventures are more enjoyable during a specific season. You probably don't want to hike a trail near Tucson proper (low elevations) in the middle of July or try to mountain bike a trail in the White Mountains in the middle of winter. This lists the best time of year to go.
Fees: Any direct costs for the adventure are listed. Most adventures don't have a direct cost (fee), but some may have a park entrance fee or other costs. Costs for things like equipment, gas, food, etc. are not included.
Fitness rating: A quick reference for those wanting to get into shape (or view how fit they may need to be). Rating are: low, medium and high. A low fitness rating does not require a huge amount of energy (though can still tax some people's bodies). Examples: four-wheeling or a short bike ride through the park. A medium fitness rating will get most people's heart pumping and will require some level of physical fitness. Examples: moderate hikes and mountain bike rides. A high fitness rating will require a great deal of physical fitness and be strenuous on most people. Examples: long, strenuous hikes and mountain bike rides.
Educational Merit: Rated either low, medium or high, this is our take on how much education merit the adventure has. This can also be a function of what you make of it. A hike can be highly educational for children given the right attitude and knowledge.
Danger/fear rating: Rated either low, medium or high, we rate how scary the adventure may be. Again, this is highly subjective. One person may be terrified of heights, while another loves to live on the edge.
Scenic Beauty: Our take on how much scenic beauty the adventure might have (rated low, medium, high). Again, highly subjective.
Hours of Operation: If the adventure is in a park, what are the hours of operation. Although we try to keep the up-to-date, hours can change without our knowledge and it's best to check with the park before going on your adventure.
Last updated: When this trail was either last updated or visited. Although we all go on our favorite trails over and over, these won't be updated every time we visit these trails. Updates will be done on an "as-needed" basis.
Short Description: A short description of the adventure.
Geocaches: Links to geocaches in the area. Note: not all geocaches are listed and geocaches can change on short notice, verify before leaving on your adventure.
References / Contact Information: Books, Magazines, Internet links and contact information of subjects that pertain to this adventure.
Points of interest: Short list of some of the interesting things you may see while on this adventure (why you may want to go).
Special Considerations: Sometimes you may need a special permit to go on an adventure or maybe dogs are not allowed on certain hikes. We try to find out the specifics and list them here.
How to get there: Directions from a nearby town or coordinates of the trailhead, usually accompanied by a Google Maps link.