Difficulty and Fitness

A complete through-hike of the Jordan Trail will take hikers through a huge variety of climates and terrain types and is certainly a physical challenge to be reckoned with. Stages of the trail routinely involve climbing over 1000m throughout the course of a day, or even over several kilometers of distance. While there is no doubt that the trail as a whole is demanding, individual stages vary in level of difficulty.

To help convey these differences, we use a two-factor challenge rating system. One factor (physical challenge) covers physical effort required to complete a trail section; the other (trail difficulty) involves the walking surfaces involved.

Physical Challenge:

  • Easy: Little elevation change, no great distance, and possible for almost any walker
  • Moderate: There may be substantial elevation gain (between 200-800m), longer distances, or steeper climbs, but the walk should still be possible by anyone in fair walking condition
  • Difficult: A more taxing hike, involving prolonged or very steep climbs, lots of elevation gain, and requiring at least a moderate level of fitness

Trail Difficulty:

  • Easy: Stable footing throughout the trail, no slippery or technical sections, and no parts exposed to heights
  • Moderate: There may be trail sections which require attention to footwork, extended sections of uneven, rough or slippery footing, and some rock scrambling
  • Difficult: These sections may include narrow paths at great heights, extensive rock scrambling portions, or other sections requiring very careful walking

Sections which exceed the bounds of any normal difficulty designation may be marked with an asterisk (*) to show that they include some extra feature distinguishing them from others. For example, a difficult*-rated trail for Physical Challenge might consist of 1500 meters of steady elevation gain, and a difficult*-rated trail for Trail Difficulty might involve navigating a narrow ledge above a large drop, requiring hikers to keep their grip on a rock face while crossing.

 

No sections of the Jordan Trail require the use of ropes or other special equipment; all can be walked on foot. The difficulty ratings serve to make sure hikers know what they are getting into with each day stage and are aware of the challenges that await them. Use these ratings, along with an evaluation of your own readiness, to make informed decisions about where to hike!