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Thread: ATV Trail Ratings?

  1. #1
    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    Default ATV Trail Ratings?

    Kind of on the same sort of thought as my last thread. I think it would be a great asset to ATV riders if we came up with a “skill level” type of trail rating system for the local trails. I realize that most of the trails have extremely varied terrain that can go from extremely easy road like conditions to expert only super extreme in less than a mile, so what I am looking for here is an “overall trail rating”.

    As an example, I would assume that most of us have ridden the Eklutna Lake trail at one time or another. Of the following choices I would personally classify it as a #1, and I would put Bird Creek as a #2.

    #1 Easy, road type trail system with minimal skill required.
    #2 Moderate, with some minor obstacles such as moderately steep hills, small rocks, etc.
    #3 Difficult, with occasional deep mud holes, river crossings, steep hills etc.
    #4 Very Difficult, winches will be required, very technical trails with numerous hazards and obstacles.
    #5 Expert only terrain, use extreme caution and be prepared for the absolute worst conditions.

    Pleas note that I am not dead set on these 5 classifications, or even the number of them. I am just throwing them out there to see what you guys think.

    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    If we can come up with some sort of consensus on the classifications, I will re-post this as a “Poll” and everyone can vote for the various trail classifications for each trail. Also, it would help it you posted your most used trails as I am not familiar with all of the trails.
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    Member EricL's Avatar
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    Its a great idea but you are very correct on the variations of each trail. I would rate Eklutna a 1 but there are areas of Bird Creek that I would rate a 4. I use this type of system when I take family out to let them know what we COULD get into.
    EricL

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    Great idea. Except somebody already beat ya to it 19 years ago

    Go buy the book: Alaska Wilderness Trails by Riley and Schachle
    23 atv trails from anchorage up to ? Maps and mile by mile discriptions as well as a Difficulty Rating System
    It goes from 1 easy to 5 difficult
    They give trail lengths, elevations, land ownership, which USGS Map# the trail is on, atv travel time etc.

    I know some anch book stores have it, I was given half a copy by a friend.
    I don't know if this addy is current but this is it from the inside cover.
    S&R Publishing
    P.O Box 242772
    Anch, AK 99524

    This doesn't mean we can't do a rating system also.

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    Default rating system

    I would love a rating system I have a five year old and a wife that could do a 1,2 would hate to take them on a five. so please rate some trails we love getting outdoors!

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    If you're going to go to the trouble of rating them, would it make sense to break the rating down into several components--such as water crossings, mud, rock/obstacle crawling, late season snowcover, and steepness. As we all know, trail difficulties can vary considerably based on the time of year and recent weather condition.

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    Thanks dws, I had not heard of that book, but I will try to locate a copy or two!

    The old Arctic Trails web site used to have a pretty extensive compilation of trail information, but like an idiot I did not down load or print any of it before they shut the site down. Alaskaatvclub.org is building a pretty nice site, and the main moderator guy is doing a nice job adding trail head information, maps and the like but their member list is still rather short compared to this site.

    Fozz, I am in a similar situation as you. I have and infant, 2 year old, and a 4 year old as well as a wife that rides. Needless to say, it is absolutely imperative that we know what we are getting into BEFORE we head out, and if the whole gang is going we are pretty much limited to the extremely easy trails like Eklutna Lake or Hatchers Pass (main road), or the beaches down on the Kenai Peninsula.

    Sr12345, I agree that it would be more informative to add as much information as possible, however I am not sure I can handle that amount of complexity with a poll type format.
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    Default Alaska Wilderness Trails

    I loooked around for the book at various bookstores and none carried the book. Emailed the author and he has copied just send $12.95. had book two days later. Very good book even though it is quite old. Here is the website on the book:

    http://www.alaskawildernesstrails.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by lubec View Post
    I loooked around for the book at various bookstores and none carried the book. Emailed the author and he has copied just send $12.95. had book two days later. Very good book even though it is quite old. Here is the website on the book:

    http://www.alaskawildernesstrails.com/
    Yes, I stated it's 19 years old. Other than deeper mudholes, a washed out bridge and a rockslide here and there, how's a trail going to change? Land ownership might have changed also I guess.

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    Having ridden most of the trails except something easy like Eklutna or roads, all the rest fall within a 2 and 4 rating depending on weather, mud and water, and or snow conditions the day you ride. All of these require a winch, all could be called easy or hard depending on your ride that day. How do you rate a trail like Eureka that is mostly a 1 or 2 with spots that are 4. How do you rate Knik River which is mostly a 1 but in a couple weeks when Friday Creek rises will drown 1 out of every 10 atvs that try to cross and continue up to the glacier? The rating system isn't going to mean much is all I'm saying. a detailed description of what you will find on each trail and some up to date weather and river conditions is better.

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    Member Hunt'N'Photos's Avatar
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    I agree with DWS. The bigger issue though is that trails change even from day to day up here. The trail into my cabin can be easily a 2 part of the year taking an hour or so and change drastically to a 4 or even 5 a few weeks later or earlier taking as long as 3 hours to get in. I have been tossing the idea around for a while now to make an updated book with good in depth pictures of each trail at different times of the year. Would take some time to put together, but would be fun to do.
    US Air Force - retired and Wildlife photographer

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