It's always helpful to get an understanding of how difficult a hike is before you set out on the trail. With this in mind, we have tried to rate the difficulty level of each hike.
30 yr old rating:
This rating is from the perspective of a 30 year old with a great deal of experience hiking in Arizona. This 30 year old jogs about 3 miles every other day, and plays basketball on a regular basis. He/she has good hiking gear and a great love of adventure.
Be Aware of:
The adventurous are drawn to these things. The wary shy away from them. You can decide yourself which you are.
* Flash Floods
* Large Elevation Swings
* Swimming and/or Wading
* Lack of defined trail
From the 30 year old perspective, we will also mention a relative difficulty as a function of how tired we were at the end of the hike.
Easy - Didn't break a sweat. Little or no elevation gain. Short distance.
Moderate - Some mild elevation gain. Medium Distance. This could also be applicable for a hike that had a little more elevation gain but was short, or a longer flat hike.
Mildly Strenuous - Significant elevation gain, scrambling, or swimming, intermingled with flat hiking.
Strenuous - Significant and constant elevation gain that may include scrambling, swimming, or route finding. You wont want do anything after this hike but plop yourself in front of your TV and relax.
Death March - No, you probably won't die, but there's a good chance of it if you don't use your brain. The goal of all the truly adventurous! Hikes that test the limits of endurance of even experienced hikers. Typically consists of significant elevation gain and long distances. May or may not include scrambling, swimming, route finding, or emergency first aid!
NOTE: Changes in weather (either hotter or colder) can change a strenuous hike into a Death March.