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Overview of Hiking Project Features

On Hiking Project, you can discover, research and plan your hike with the following information which can be found by clicking on any trail or hike page. Note that not all features that are available on the website can be found in the mobile app. If you have an account, you can also contribute the following items:
Trails
A trail is a single trail as you would find on a printed map.
Recommended Routes
A recommended route is a complete route that uses one or more trails, otherwise known as a hike. Recommended routes will have a detailed description, photos and need to know information like fees, parking and any notable highlights. These are shown as yellow lines on the map.
Photos
Photos offer snapshots of the trail or hike to give others an idea of the experience. These can be landscapes, viewpoints, the trail, actions shots of people and interesting features.
Gems
Gems highlight iconic landmarks or highly memorable experiences that visitors won't want to miss.
Difficulty ratings
The difficulty icon can be found next to the trail/recommended route name. Difficulty ratings are an average of all votes; perceived difficulty can differ from person to person, so the rating system is designed to give you a general sense of the communities’ overall opinion.

If you are signed into your account, you can add your vote by scrolling to the Your Difficulty section. You can see the breakdown of individual ratings by clicking the Full Details link at the bottom Trail Ratings section. Trail difficulty is characterized by the following:

Easy
No obstacles. Flat.

Easy/Intermediate
Some uneven terrain. Mostly flat.

Intermediate
Moderate inclines. Uneven terrain.

Intermediate/Difficult
Some rocks, roots. Steep sections.

Difficult
Steep. Tricky terrain.

Very Difficult
Very steep. Hazardous terrain.

Star ratings
Star ratings are an average of all votes. Enjoyment and perceived difficulty can differ from person to person, so the rating system is designed to give you a general sense of the communities’ overall opinion. You can see the breakdown of individual ratings by clicking the Full Details link at the bottom Trail Ratings section. If you are signed into your account, you can add your vote by scrolling to the Your Rating section.
Conditions
Trail conditions can be updated by contributors with a Hiking Project account. You can also click the See History link for a list of past condition reports. To update conditions, click Update Conditions next to the Current Trail Conditions section under the Weather section. There are standard conditions to select from, a box for optional details and a checkbox to apply conditions to nearby trails. If conditions have not been updated in 100 days, the site will report unknown.

  • All Clear: Trail is open and there are no obstacles or wet sections.
  • Minor Issues: There may be patches of mud, snow, ice or possibly a downed tree. The trail is open but should be used with caution. Care should be taken to avoid damaging the trail.
  • Bad/Closed: Trail has been closed by the land manager or using it will damage the trail. Potentially dangerous/hazardous conditions may exist.

Comments
Offer personal insight or thoughts about a trail or route so others can learn about your experience on the trail. Anyone with an account can post comments to trails, hikes, photos, gems or videos at the bottom of the page.
Map
You can toggle between two background maps: Terrain and Satellite. In order to toggle between the different base layers, click the pop-up icon at the lower right of the map and select the base layer you would like to use.

  • Terrain: Offers a topographical overview of the area.
  • Satellite: Overlays the trails on a satellite image.

On the Mobile App, to switch from one map base layer to another, tap the info icon on the map. Here you will be able to toggle between satellite imagery and a topographic terrain base map.

Lines
Different lines are used on the map to help you determine the type of trail and its difficulty rating. The color of the line is associated with the difficulty rating.

  • Green lines indicate trails are Easy.
  • Blue lines indicate trails are Intermediate.
  • Black lines indicate trails are Difficult or Very Difficult.
  • Yellow highlight indicates a recommended route.

Trail data
You can switch from imperial to metric units under your account settings.

  • Length: The mileage listed corresponds to the mapped green start point and red end point on the map. Most trails will indicate point-to-point mileage. Loop or out-and-back hikes may indicate round-trip mileage with the start and end point at the same location.
  • Trail Type:
    • Singletrack is defined as a dirt trail that can accommodate the width of one hiker.
    • Doubletrack is a wide trail, ATV track or dirt road.
    • Paved Path is a paved trail like a bike path or city walking path, not a sidewalk or road.
  • Elevation Ascent/Descent: Based on the mapped direction of travel, this is the total amount of elevation gained or lost over the entire length of the route.
  • Elevation High/Low: These are the highest and lowest elevation points reached on the trail or hike.
  • Avg. Grade/Max Grade: The average grade is the average steepness of the entire trail. The max grade is the single steepest section you will encounter on the trail. (Keep in mind the accuracy of the grade is related to the accuracy of the GPS track over an elevation model that may also have inaccuracies.) These numbers are only meant to be used as a guide and should not be used to determine the exact slope angle. On-trail risk and other hazards posed by steep terrain should be assessed in the field, not exclusively by the numbers provided here.
  • % Runnable: (Will only appear on Trail Run Project) An automated value that shows the amount of a trail or route under a certain steepness where running is possible. This should only be used as a rough estimate.

Virtual tour
This allows you to visualize the route or trail in three-dimensions, with options to change the angle of view, altitude, speed of the tour and position along the route. You will need to be logged in to your account to use this feature.
Features and descriptions
  • Dogs: Lets others know if dogs are allowed on a trail and, if so, if they need to be leashed.
  • Features: Lists the highlights of the trail or hike.
  • Summary: Recaps the trail or hike in one complete descriptive sentence.
  • Overview: (recommended routes only) A brief, high-level description that summarizes what makes the hike special, including highlights like viewpoints, fun sections, etc.
  • Need to Know: Outlines any parking fees, restroom access, nearby cafés, etc.
  • Description: Descriptions guide others through the entire experience of the trail or hike (e.g. terrain, trail surface, major turns, highlights, etc.). Currently, we do not require descriptions for trails although we would love for you to add them anyway. However, we do require detailed descriptions for recommended routes.
  • Access Issues: Includes, but is not limited to, closure dates and known restrictions.
  • History & Background: (recommended routes only) Describes any key historical features or interesting background notes on the trail or area.
  • Trail Run Notes: (Will only appear on Trail Run Project) Depicts anything runners should know, such as trail surface or if running is prohibited.
  • Flora and Fauna: Describes the plants and animals hikers might encounter along the trail or hike.
  • Land Manager: Links to the website of the entity that owns or manages the land.
  • Local Clubs: Links to the website of the club that is active in the area.
Weather
The weather forecast is pulled from the National Weather Service for the nearest recognized location.
Driving directions
Directions may be shown to any of the following: the start of a trail or hike, to the parking area symbol, to the drive-up camping symbol or to the visitor center symbol. For driving directions to the start of a trail or hike, click the Driving Directions button which will open a navigation map such as Google or Waze. For symbols with driving directions, click on the symbol to bring up a “Driving directions” option, which will open a navigation map. Note: driving directions to the start of a trail or route may not provide access to a trailhead or parking area, and in some cases, may even use private roads which are not accessible. Always confirm with a local authoritative resource.
GPX file
A GPX file is the georeferenced track that shows up as a line on the map. Click the Download GPX link or Download GPX File button to download a GPX file of the trail or recommended route. Once you’ve downloaded the file, you can then upload or save the track to a GPS-enabled device (Garmin, phone, etc) for navigating on trail.
Favorites
Favorites are a great way to keep track of trails and recommended routes that you'd like to complete or remember. If you are logged into your account, you can add a trail, recommended route or gem to your Favorites list by clicking the heart symbol or Add to Favorites link. If you would like to remove a trail, recommended route or gem from your Favorites list, click the heart symbol again or trash icon.
Check-Ins
Check-Ins help you keep track of where you've been and help you see how recently others have done a given route. Once logged into your account, you can add a Check-In for it by clicking Add Your Check-In on the trail, recommended route or gem page. All Check-Ins are saved to your personal profile and are added to the list of public Check-Ins on the page.

Please check out the FAQ topics.

You can Contact Us if you still need help, but we have limited capacity to respond to everyone.