Throughout the website you will see ratings from one to five for each of the hikes we recommend. It can be hard to correlate these numerical values to perceived value in the real world, especially for someone that is new to hiking.
A hike with a rating of one will typically be suitable for families with extremely young children, often for those travelling with a stroller. For the parents these won’t be hikes, but for the youngsters they’ll feel like true adventurers. Luckily the path is usually wide enough so that when they tucker themselves out you can plunk them in the stroller.
Grade two hikes are still very family friendly, but the kids should definitely be able to walk for quite a while on their own. These trails rarely have space for a stroller, and forward planning for food and water might be required. For first and second grade hikes runners or trail shoes will be great, boots are not needed.
Third level hikes are solid half day hikes, where changes in elevation start to play a role. You should start to need sturdier boots, however trail runners may still have their place. Bringing water and sources of fast energy start to be beneficial, so a solid day pack is also a must. The danger also starts to increase for these hikes as you can be several kilometers away from any major roadway, and out of cell phone reception.
Fairly major day hikes are considered to be fourth level hikes. These require strong fitness levels and much more gear. Packing many layers, lunch, and extra water are a must. These hikes will approach 20kms in length and will have substantial climbs.
Finally, level five hikes are extremely long day hikes. These will be usually over 20km and have over 1000m elevation gain. Being prepared to have to stay the night out is recommended, as is carrying extra food and water. Only fit, avid hikers should do fifth grade hikes as they are draining.