- Out and Back hikes are round trips.
- Shuttle trips are one-way distances.
The elevation gain/loss is the total for the trip.
- Developed - this means there is a trail. It could be signed or unsigned. Keep your eyes open, though; even developed trails can sometimes be tricky to follow.
- Cross-country - this means there is no trail. Route finding is a valuable skill as you will have to find your own way. Topographic maps and GPS are usually required. Keep an eye on the terrain. I find it helpful to look back frequently to see how things will look on your way back.
- Easy - Generally less than a 4-mile round trip and 600 ft gain.
- Moderate - Between 4 and 8 miles and typically less than 2,000 ft gain.
- Strenuous - More than 8 miles and greater than 2,000 ft gain.
These are just my rough guidelines. You might feel differently. Try a few and use your own judgment.
Hiking Time Required
Hiking times are from the Munter Method and my own experience.
The Munter Method formula is: Time = (Distance [km] + (Elevation gain [m] / 100)) / Rate.
The Rates are as follows: Hiking uphill = 4. Cross-country uphill = 2. Hiking downhill = 6. Cross-country downhill = 2.
Times are subjective. In some cases, I have added a little extra time to the hike. I consider myself an average hiker. Do a few hikes yourself and see how your time compares to mine as a benchmark for all the others. As with all things, your mileage may vary.
Hikes in the desert are often without any shade. Be aware of the sun and heat, especially in the summer. Try to hike during the mornings or late afternoons during high temperatures. Do not run out of water.
While many roads are paved or graded 2WD and suitable for most passenger cars, some require more caution.
- Paved - Obviously, a paved road. Suitable for all vehicles.
- Graded - A graded and usually maintained gravel road with some washboard. Full-sized and passenger cars should have no problems.
- High Clearance - These gravel roads can be rough or washed out in sections. Sand can be encountered. High clearance 2WD or AWD is required. Full-sized vehicles should have no problems as long as they have high clearance.
- High Clearance 4WD - These roads are rougher with technical sections of rock, ruts, deep sand, and/or steep grades. Careful wheel placement will be useful to prevent vehicle damage or getting stuck. A 4WD vehicle with a high clearance is usually required. These roads can be too narrow for a full-sized vehicle.
- Rough 4WD - These difficult roads will have rock ledges, deep ruts, tight switchbacks, steep treads, off-camber sections, and other technical obstacles. A High clearance 4WD vehicle with low gears and lockers is recommended. A spotter might also be needed for correct tire placement to avoid hazards. Body damage is possible. These roads are not suitable for full-sized vehicles.
I should also mention that tires are often overlooked in assisting with off-road driving. Good all-terrain or off-road tires can make a world of difference with traction in comparison to street tires. This is something to consider if you drive on rough roads often; there are lots of sharp rocks out there, and help is far away.
4WD driving can be hazardous to you and your vehicle. It often takes years of practice to become a great driver. Always stay on designated roads.
GPS coordinates, waypoints, and tracks are approximations only. Please use common sense. Do not walk over a cliff! All datums used are in the WGS 84 format unless otherwise noted.