Hiking trails are graded with a letter and a number to help assess physical and technical difficulty. This is the same grading scale used by the Kootenay Mountaineering Club.
|A||Easy, less than four hours of travel, little elevation gain.|
|B||Moderate, 4 to 6 hours of travel, 400 to 600 metres (1300 - 2000 ft) of elevation gain.|
|C||Strenuous, 6 to 8 hours of travel, 600 to 1000 metres (2000 – 3300 ft) of elevation gain.|
|D||Very strenuous, over 8 hours of travel, more than 1000 metres (3300 ft) of elevation gain.|
|E||Extended, multi-day trip.|
|1||Hike, on trail|
|2||Scramble, off trail|
|3||Scramble, with some exposure|
Example: Pulpit Rock
The Pulpit Rock trail near Nelson is 3.6km return with a 338m elevation gain. The entire hike is along a trail. However, because the elevation gain is significant over the 1.8km ascent, I would rate it B1 for a moderate hike (rather than easy).
Example: Old Glory
Old Glory Mountain near Rossland is 17km round trip with a big 1145m gain. The entire hike is along a trail and takes about 7 hours so I would rate this a C1.
Assess Your Ability
Always assess your own ability. The hike grading scale provides a general idea of the physical and technical demands of a trail, but trails that are easy for experienced hikers may be challenging for new hikers.
If you’re new to hiking, start with some easier A1 or B1 trails.