Friday, March 2, 2012
New rating system for Valley hiking trails
The City of Phoenix and surrounding towns including Scottsdale, Glendale, Tempe and Fountain Hills, have adopted a new system of coding trail difficulty levels to better aid hikers in selecting routes that best match their abilities.
The system uses six color-coded symbols similar to those used for ski runs. They are:
WHITE DOT: easiest, flat, barrier-free, max 5% grade
GREEN DOT: easy, mostly smooth & wide dirt trails, max 10% grade
BLUE SQUARE: moderate, mostly smooth, variable width dirt with some unevenness, max 15% grade
BLUE DIAMOND: moderately difficult, mostly uneven dirt & rock, max 20% grade
BLACK DIAMOND: difficult, long , rocky segments with possible drops & exposure, loose, uneven rock, more than 20% grade
DOUBLE BLACK DIAMOND: extremely difficult, long , rocky segments with possible drops & exposure, loose, uneven rock, more than 20% grade, obstacles and excessive heat
The new rating system was unveiled on Feb 29, 2012 and will start popping up on area park web sites soon. Future plans also include adding the symbols to trail signs.