Levels of Difficulty for Backpacking Trips
Listed below are the ratings for difficulty levels of group hikes; Level 1 - least strenuous through 5 - most difficult. Ratings are derived from distance, altitude change, hiker safety and terrain.
Level 1: Beginner - Appropriate for families with kids, beginner backpackers, etc. Level 1 trips are the most “accessible” backpacking itineraries at Grand Canyon, with low mileages, low-key side hike options, and plenty of opportunity for relaxation. These trips will strictly involve well-maintained corridor trails.
Level 2: Beginner Backcountry - Appropriate for more adventurous families and more active beginner backpackers. Level 2 trips still involve manageable daily mileage, but will be more ambitious overall itineraries, with opportunity for more aggressive side hiking and a little less relaxation. These trips will involve mostly well-maintained, but also some unmaintained trails.
Level 3: Immersive - Appropriate for athletic families with older kids (teens and above), as well as backpackers with some experience and stamina. Level 3 trips will typically be longer mileage, thus covering more of the Canyon landscape and giving the guest a broader overall experience. These trips will involve mostly well-maintained, but also some unmaintained trails.
Level 4: Immersive Backcountry - Appropriate for adult athletes and backpackers with substantial experience and endurance. Level 4 trips will involve longer daily mileages and deeper travel into Grand Canyon’s backcountry. These longer distances will be traveled on unmaintained trails, which creates a more “intense” overall experience, with a high demand for physical and mental resolve.
Level 5: Advanced Backcountry - Appropriate for aggressive athletes and seasoned backpackers only. Level 5 trips involve mid to high daily mileages on the most difficult designated trails in Grand Canyon. High levels of attentiveness, endurance, fitness, strength, and overall athleticism are required.