Difficulty RatingsOur Difficulty Ratings are based on a scale of 1-5, tours with a 1 rating being the least difficult, a rating of 5 being the most difficult.
Level 1 - applies to trips in which we carry only day packs and stay on maintained trails. Hiking distances range from 3-6 miles, and elevation gain can be as much as 2000 feet. You should be comfortable hiking 3-6 miles in a day with considerable elevation gain/loss on good trails.
Level 2 - primarily applies to trips in which we carry only day packs. In one day we can hike up to 9 miles and 4500 feet of elevation gain on maintained trails, or up to 7 miles and 2000 feet of elevation gain on more rugged, less-maintained trails. If a backpacking trip has a Level 2 rating, it means the distances are 2-4 miles with little elevation gain/loss. For a Level 2 trip you should be comfortable hiking 6-8 miles in a day in hilly or mountainous terrain with a light day pack.
Level 3 - applies to backpacking trips in which we hike with 25-35 pound backpacks. In one day we can hike up to 7 miles and 3000 feet of elevation gain on maintained trails, or up to 5 miles and 2000 feet of elevation gain on more rugged trails. For a Level 3 trip you should be comfortable hiking 6-8 miles in a day in hilly or mountainous terrain with a 25-pound backpack.
Level 4 - denotes backpacking trips on established but rugged, unmaintained trails with multi-day backpacks (30-40 pounds). The hiking can be steep and sustained with long daily distances (up to 9 miles) and significant elevation change (up to 4,000 feet). You should be comfortable running/biking/hiking for several hours without many breaks.
Level 5 - applies to backpacking trips on very rugged trails or off-trail with multi-day backpacks (35-45 pounds). Expect prolonged, rugged hiking with very strenuous, difficult sections. Terrain can be steep, loose, rocky and/or exposed. You must be able to exercise vigorously at home (extended runs, swims, bike rides, etc.) to join a hike with a "5" rating.
Solitude RatingsOur Solitude Ratings are based on a scale of 1-5, tours with a 1 rating having the least amount of solitude, tours with a 5 rating having the most.
1 - Expect to be around other hikers and travelers most of the time.
2 - Expect to have some solitude, as much as an hour at a time without seeing other groups.
3 - Expect hours of solitude at a time.
4 - Expect to see no more than one or two groups per day.
5 - Expect to see only a group or two over the entire duration of your trip.