Panorama of the Peyto Lake Viewpoint hike from Icefields Parkway, the Canadian Rockies

Activity Difficulty Assessment-Routes

Throughout the website, you’ll find ratings on all of our route descriptions and tours. These are designed to help you navigate and filter which activities work best for you and your group. The difficulty is subjective and your experience determines what is easy for you and the rest of your group. We created this difficulty rating scale with everyone in mind starting with small scale, family friendly routes all the way to advanced missions. Use this guide to assess the difficulty rating on our routes to find the best activity for your next adventure.

Activities with a rating scale of 1 are typically suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those with mobility challenges. These are most often short and sweet trips that are well-maintained and signed. There is often room for chariots or rugged wagons on these trails and you are likely to encounter interpretive signs and information along level 1 routes.

When an activity is rated with a 2, it is reserved for strong beginners to intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure. There may be rolling elevation gain or some small technical sections, but the trails should be regularly maintained, easy to follow and signed. Level 2 trails require some planning to bring food and water, and kids should be able to walk on their own for a few hours up to a half-day.

Level 3 activities are considered intermediate adventures on our scale. There will be more consistent elevation gain, and those taking on level 3 adventures should be comfortable on technical terrain and familiar with their equipment. You’ll need to plan for food, water, and consider bringing first aid kits on these intermediate trails. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the route before departure as signage may be below average on these routes. Consider level 3 options to be half to full-day adventures.

A rating of 4 turns your adventure into a full-day effort for most activities. Level 4 activities are for strong intermediates to advanced adventurers who are comfortable with a bigger day out, which may include more distance, more elevation, changing terrain, potential route-finding, and susceptible to inclement weather. Activities with this rating will have a broader range of distance and elevation based solely on the factors that contribute to the difficulty. Some level 4 adventures are short and very steep, some cover lengthy distances on easier terrain, but whatever contributes to this level of difficulty requires intermediate to advanced experience levels and is reserved for those committed to full-day adventures.

Level 5 adventures are for advanced and experienced folks. These are full-day trips that will involve a fair amount of challenge and technicality. Think an 8-10 hour hike, century rides, long nordic descents, and rocky traverses. These routes require preparation and familiarity of the routes. You’ll want maps or GPS tracks, food, water, extra layers, and emergency supplies for level 5 adventures. You should have a good idea of the topography of the region you are in, emergency services, and plan to complete the route as safely as possible. You might want to leave some food and drinks in the car for your return, as these adventures can be draining!

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