Western Adventures 4X4 Driving School

Trail Rating Information PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 28 January 2008 01:20

Make sure that you know what scale they are using, when they give you a trail ratings.


Trail Ratings - A trail is rated by the most difficult obstacle. A trail could be all easy except for one short section, which would raise the rating. Experience has shown me that one man's "#2" could be another man's "#4". A surface that is dry might be easy, as in clay, but hard if wet.

The trails change all of the time by weather and use. The trails can go up or down in ratings from year to year. My use of trail ratings are rated from the last usage I experienced on the trail. A rainstorm can change a trail in a day from easy to impassable overnight.

(This is only a guide, you still have the responsibility to judge your skills)!

This is the rating system I like to use at Western Adventures Ratings (W.A.R.) has been the most popular with the 4-wheelers:

(1) - All weather paved road ; 4 W. D. not required, except possibly in snow or bad weather.

(1 ½) - Graded Road (dirt - gravel); 4 W.D. rarely needed, except possibly in snow or bad weather.

(2) - Unimproved or rarely graded road. 4 W.D. or extra clearance needed at times, with no special driving skills required.

(2 ½) - Road is rarely maintained. 4 W.D., good clearance , low gears often needed with some extra care and a bit of driving skill useful.

(3) - Road in difficult terrain, rarely maintained. 4 W.D., good clearance and low gears essential, with some driving skill needed.

(3 ½) - Road in difficult terrain, probably maintained only by occasional user. Excellent stock vehicle with extra clearance required, considerable driving skill and daring needed.

(4) - Trail either never graded or badly eroded. Stock vehicles are in jeopardy of damage. Modifications for improved off-road performance and top driving skill needed.

(4+) - For the World Class Hard Core Off-Roader: Not much concern for vehicle or personal safety. It is not uncommon to have 10% with major breakdowns.

The Forest Service and government has used a 3 rating system.

EASY- I interpret to be broad enough to cover 1, to 2 ½
MODERATE- I interpret to be a middle of the road, 2 ½ to 3 ½
DIFFICULT- I interpret to be anything 3 ½ or above.

(I find this is a little too broad of a definition for my use).

1 to 10 Rating (There are many different 1 to 10 ratings used! Know which onr they are using before it is too late!)

There are some groups which use a 1 through 10 and I translated to the 1 to 4 + as a:

Western Adventures Rating = W.A.R.

1 or 2 = 1 W.A.R.
3 = 1½  W.A.R.
4 = 2  W.A.R.
5= 2½ W.A.R.
and so forth.

Never let peer pressure push you beyond your abilities as this is when many accidents happen!

Last Updated ( Saturday, 02 January 2010 09:04 )
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