Did you know that trails have ratings to define the difficulty level? If you have ever snow skied before, you will recognize these symbols, but if not, after this short read you will!
Hiking and biking trail developers have adopted the same symbols used for ski trails to quickly identify the relative difficulty of a trail in a trail system, ranging from "Easiest" to "Most Difficult".
The level of the trails in a system are defined based on all other trails in that system - this is an important point to realize as an "Easiest" trail in one system may not be the same as another "Easiest" trail in another system; however it should give a user a good point of reference for which trail to ride based on his/her ability.
Easiest trails tend to have few or no obstacles, are relatively flat and wide, and have the shortest distances in a system. This is a great place for the novice to start. Easiest trails are marked with a green circle symbol.
Intermediate trails tend to have more obstacles that have to be maneuvered over, slightly narrower and longer, with more elevation change. Intermediate trails are marked with a blue square.
Most-Difficult trails are also referred to as "Expert" level and will be the most narrow, more elevation change and have obstacles that cannot be avoided. In the case of bike trails, some trails may have jumps, logs and other features that will put a rider off the ground. Users should not attempt this type of trail if not already comfortable riding Intermediate level trails. Expert level trails are marked with either a single black diamond or multiple black diamond for "extra" difficult trail definition.