How is the difficulty rating calculated?
Difficulty is relative, based on the physical shape a person, other comparable hikes, and a variety of other factors. This site uses the following formula to standardize the difficulty rating accross all hikes and skill levels.
(total elevation gain * .002) + (total elevation loss * .001)
+ total length + difficulty adjustment
The formula is comprised of four parts:
1) Total elevation gain * .002 adds 1 point for every 500ft. of elevation gained.
2) Total elevation loss * .001 adds 1 point for every 1000ft. of elevation loss. Except on point-to-point hikes, elevation gain will be the same as elevation loss.
3) Total length adds 1 point for every mile of the hike, roundtrip.
4) The difficulty adjustment is the only subjective part of the formula. This is a point value I designate to skew the rating. The purpose of this is to account for elements of a hike outside of length and elevation changes, such as rocky or difficult trails, river crossings, and other factors.
Is the length listed roundtrip or point-to-point?
All lengths are listed as roundtrip length unless the hike is specifically listed as a point-to-point hike where a shuttle or another car would be needed.
If I select more than one feature from the search options, will I see hikes that contain either feature or only hikes that contain both features?
Within each filter section, checking more than one box acts like an 'OR', meaning that if you check the features 'Dog Friendly' and 'Waterfall' you will see hikes that are either dog friendly OR have waterfalls, OR both. Checking options from different sections, however, acts like an 'AND', meaning that if you check the 'Easy' difficulty and check the 'Dog Friendly' feature, you will see hikes that are both easy AND dog friendly.
Why is the data on this site different than other sites?
Official posted lengths are calculated a variety of ways and sometimes are incorrect. I use a Garmin eTrex Vista HCx on each trail I hike. No GPS unit is 100% accurate and variations are common, but most will be within an acceptable range of accuracy.