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Difficulty Ratings

Beginner Anyone can do hikes rated 'Beginner'. They typically involve short walks on flat terrain, and there may be occastional inclines. At most, it will be steep for very small climbs. These hikes will never usually take more than an hour and a half and are best visited as a side trip, unless you live very close to one.
Easy Easy is a good difficulty level for most young children. 'Easy' hikes are never more than five miles, and will not typically have any very rough terrain. You can expect to see moderate to difficult inclines, but the steeper the incline, the shorter the hike will be. You can usually complete two nearby 'Easy' hikes in an afternoon.
Moderate Moderate hikes can have a rough trail with a grade about the same as an 'Easy' hike, but with more prolonged steepness and more distance. Similar to 'Easy', the more difficult the grade and trail surface, the shorter the hike will be, and vice versa. A hike with this difficulty could be done in an afternoon by itself.
Hard With hikes rated 'Hard', you can expect to see constant, difficult grades, with some occasional rock scrambling and/or extreme steepness. 'Hard' hikes have a moderate to long distance, never more than eight miles. Trail surfaces are always rough. These hikes can take anywhere from a half day to a full day.
Very Hard 'Very Hard' hikes should be attempted only by those who have had much hiking experience and are conditioned for long distances and difficult climbing. Be prepared for constant strenuous grades and rock scrambling. These hikes will not be more than ten miles long, and may be much shorter if the trail is extremely steep. Do not plan any other destinations on the day you do one of these hikes.
Extreme 'Extreme' is the hardest difficulty level on this website. You should make sure you can complete 'Very Hard' hikes fairly easily before trying an 'Extreme' hike. Hikes are usually rated this difficulty for having a terribly rough trail surface, lengthy stretches of severe grades, very difficult distance, or all of these. Similar to 'Very Hard' hikes, these hikes should not be done on the same day as any others. There is no limit on how long 'Extreme' hikes can be.
About Hike Statistics

Distance - Distance is always given round-trip. "Out-and-back" is the standard type of hike; The destinations are reached by a single trail, which you must hike both ways. A "loop" hike is also common; One or more trails are used to create a continuous trip around the destinations, so that you never have to retrace your steps. "Out-and-back with loop(s)" is a combination of the two; A single trail is hiked to a certain point, where a loop is used to visit the destinations and return to that point.

Elevation (of mountains or lakes) - The altitude above sea level of the summit or water.

Prominence (of mountains)- Prominence is a measure of how much a mountain stands out from its surroundings. It is the vertical distance between a mountain's summit and the lowest point on the highest ridge connecting it with a higher mountain (the key col).

Altitude Gain (of ascending trails)- The vertical distance climbed from the trailhead to the destination. This figure, along with the distance and a topographical map, can tell you a great deal about the difficulty of the hike.

Height (of waterfalls)- The height of the waterfall.

River (of waterfalls)- The water source of the waterfall.

Type (of wetlands)- The ecological type of the bog or swamp.



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