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Trail Ratings

Original Post
Dan Downs · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 0

Can you explain upon what the trail ratings (green, blue etc) are based upon? Is it technical ability, physical ability or a combination or what? Also do the number of stars equate to the condition of the trail?
Dan - Colorado Springs, CO

Aaron Caveglia · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 548

The difficulty ratings are mostly based on technical difficulty. The physical difficulty part is mostly communicated by the distance, feet of ascent, elevation profile, etc.

MTBProject uses the following guidelines:

Easy (green): 5% grade, 2" obstacles
Intermediate (blue): 10% grade, 8" obstacles, short harder sections
Difficult (black): 15% grade, 15" obstacles, occasional harder sections
Extremely Difficult (double black): 20% grade, 15+" obstacles, many harder sections

They're pretty general. The % grade I assume is downhill, but steep uphills can be both physically challenging and technically difficult. "Obstacles" would be rocks, roots, logs, drops, etc. The difficulty can also be voted on. The trail's creator gets the first vote when they post the trail, which starts the conversation, but other registered members can change it, and they get averaged.

The difficulty is also usually relative to the trail system and the region it's in. For some trails I've mapped, I've set the difficulty based on what an existing (paper) park map has them labeled, even though a "black" trail there would barely be a blue elsewhere. In that case, it's important to communicate the relative difficulty - that a given trail is the hardest in the area, or an easier one, etc.

The star rating is just "how good was the trail?", and that's really your opinion. A really sweet awesome fun trail should be 5 stars, and a boring lousy waste-of-time should be 1 star. Condition could be a part of that, if it's in such bad shape it affects how fun the ride is, but the stars aren't for conditions in the sense of "how dry is it".

Hope that helps.

David Wallace · · Huntington Beach, CA · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

The ratings are loosely based on the skiing ratings system. If you ski that helps, if you don't well...

Brian Smith · · Boulder, CO · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 5,540

I think that Aaron has pretty well summed things up. It should also be noted that any difficulty rating shown on the site is a consensus - anyone can vote on a trail's difficulty. Therefore, the more votes, the greater the accuracy of the rating.

I agree to some extent that the symbology could be confusing to someone who doesn't ski and that there is some variability in the criteria for each difficulty based on location. However, the green-blue-black system seems to be the best, most widely adopted rating system.

What do you guys think - is there a better system out there for showing difficulties?

Will Stingley · · Denver, CO · Joined May 2013 · Points: 61

I think the current rating system great.

True, the more people rate it, the better. I used to think difficulty should be separated into 'technical degree' vs 'fitness', but youre right in that the miles and the elevation gain gives a good idea of the 'fitness' difficulty. Also, Very Generally, technical difficulty and physical difficulty are closely related.

One suggestion would be to add the ability to rate stars and difficulty in the mobile app so that more people have more ways to vote.

Brian Smith · · Boulder, CO · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 5,540

@Will - Adding the ability to vote within the app (along with many other features) are on the engineering/design list. You'll be seeing greatly improved functionality in the app in the not so distant future!

Will Stingley · · Denver, CO · Joined May 2013 · Points: 61

Sweet! What else is on that list?!?

Lauralee Green · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0

can someone recommend any easy/easy moderate trails here?

David Wallace · · Huntington Beach, CA · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

Laura lee Green, I know what you mean. Try the Fullerton Loop. It's a mix of urban and regional park trails. Be sure to keep your MTB Project map handy as there are many street crossing and I found it easy to miss the trail connection. On the good side the elevation is not too severe, climbs are generally easy and not too long. Another area where you can enjoy cross country type trail riding without steep climbs or descents is Irvine Regional Park. Locate the Road Runner and Egret trails near the zoo. When you get more adventurous there are several big climbs to try.

Lastly, we may be related. My mother's maiden name was Green. She hailed from Layton, Utah.

kapil singhal · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 0

I feel that Aaron has quite very much summed things up. It ought to likewise be noticed that any trouble rating appeared on the site is an accord - anybody can vote on a trail's trouble. In this way, the more votes, the more noteworthy the exactness of the rating.

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I consent to some degree that the symbology could be befuddling to somebody who doesn't ski and that there is some inconstancy in the criteria for every trouble in view of area. Be that as it may, the green-blue-dark framework is by all accounts the best, most generally embraced rating framework.

What do you folks think - is there a superior framework out there for demonstrating challenges?

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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