Hike Ratings

Classifications do not vary based on distance (mileage). Consider both rating and mileage in selecting a trip. Please note: we do not use the Yosemite system.


Start with a non-exploratory Class I hike and slowly progress to harder hikes as you assess your abilities. This class is appropriate for people who have no prior hiking experience or who may have recently moved to the high altitude and dry conditions of New Mexico. Taking on a hike more difficult than your abilities not only creates a poor experience for you, but for everyone else on the hike that had to compromise their plans.

  • CLASS 1: A slow trip, usually on trail, with less than 1000ft elev. gain (1-1.5mi per hour).
  • CLASS 1+: A moderate pace (2mi per hour or less) with less than 1000ft elev. gain.
  • CLASS 2: Elev. gain 1000-2000ft. Pace of 2mi per hour or less.
  • CLASS 2+: Elev. gain 2000-3000ft. Pace of 2-3mi per hour.
  • CLASS 3: Elev. gain over 3000ft. Pace 2-3mi per hour or faster. Leaders may choose this designation at their discretion if trip has unusual difficulties.
  • CLASS 3+: Extremely long, hard day hikes and backpacks, requiring excellent physical condition (i.e. a 12-hour day climbing peaks over 14,000ft above sea level).
  • CLASS 4: A mountaineering trip that requires use of ice axe and crampons or roping up for protection. Leaders must have a club technical climb rating. Leaders may require a rating or comparable experience from participants.


In addition to a Class rating, a trip may be designated with an EXP for exploratory. This is a trip that the leader has not done before, or not done recently (within the last five years), or for which the leader is uncertain about some aspect of the proposed route. Participants should be experienced, expect that plans may go awry, and be prepared to use emergency gear.

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