Difficulty Guidelines

Updated March 6, 2019

 

Basics

  • Proactive’s hikes are NOT designed to be appropriate for first-time beginners, sedentary individuals, or children (unless specifically designated as such)

  • Ratings are subjective. For a some hikers, an “Easy” hike might be closer to “Moderate +”; for experienced hikers, the opposite may be true.

 

Easy

  • Short to medium distance

  • Flat or slightly rolling terrain

  • Any changes in elevation are gradual

  • Steep sections are abbreviated at best

  • Lack of technical obstacles (scrambles, water crossings)

  • Without extreme seasonal trail conditions (snow, mud, severe overgrowth)

  • A pace of less than 1.5 mph

  • Examples: North Point/Butter HIll, Osio-Torne, Horsepond Express, High Mountain

Easy +

  • Greater change in elevation

  • or medium distance

  • or the presence of one or two technical features of low difficulty

  • Examples: Catfish Mountain, Wyanokie Express, Wildcat Ridge (Hibernia), Huckleberry Point Express, Kaaterskill Falls

 

Moderate

  • Medium to long distance

  • Rolling terrain with some steep sections that will stretch the group

  • Some technical obstacles (scrambles, water crossings)

  • Solid exercise for the average hiker

  • A pace of around 2.0 mph

  • Examples: West Brook Mountain, Bald Mountain, Claudius Smith Den, Bull Hill, Raccoon Ridge, Beacon

Moderate +

  • Extreme trail conditions (snow, mud, severe overgrowth)

  • Frequent technical obstacles that significantly impact overall pace

  • Long distance with terrain that allows a quick pace

  • Examples: Giant Stairs, Millbrook-Gertrude, Schunemunk, Mount Tammany

 

Hard

  • Medium to long distance. (Short if extreme elevation change)

  • Significant elevation changes of over 1000 feet (net)

  • Heavily rolling or rugged terrain

  • Extended steep sections that occupy significant portions of a hike

  • Technical obstacles

  • All-day hiking

  • Inexperienced hikers should be discouraged from attending

  • Quick pace over flat or easier sections to make up time

  • Examples: Breakneck Ridge, Plateau Mountain

Hard +

  • Long distance

  • Frequent technical obstacles

  • Beating the sunset

  • Extreme trail conditions (snow, mud, severe overgrowth)

  • Mental endurances becomes a factor

  • Examples: Stonetown Circular, Norvin Green Tour, Groundhog Day at Fishkill Ridge, Wittenberg Mountain, Platte Clove, Twin Mountain (Winter), High Peters Kill

 

Very Hard

  • Long to very long distance

  • Significant elevation changes of over 2000 feet (net)

  • Heavily rolling or rugged terrain. Frequent elevation gain/loss of several hundred feet

  • A technical hike, or borderline mountaineering without specialized equipment

  • Mental endurance is an important factor

  • Examples: Guardians of the Highlands, Beacon Range

Very Hard +

  • Very long distance or thru/sectional

  • Sunrise to sunset, or multi-day

  • Invite only, or restricted to experienced backpackers that are physically and mentally fit

  • Thorough planning. Contingencies for all situations are required.

  • Examples: Devil’s Path, Kittatinny Ridge, ADK Great Range