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What's important to know about trail conditions?

Hi all, as I get more involved with my local wilderness I'm curious, what should I know about trail conditions, or in other words, what would be smart to know about a trail before entering?

14 Replies



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I noticed this is an older conversation.  Since there was a recent reply, it came to my attention.  The fun is there are many resources (including a number of apps as mentioned @ntatko).  So, I am going to ask this question.  is there any way to truly (and completely) know the trail conditions?

Usually, you can find some details about the trail one the trails (parks or forest) website.  These are usually limited to the water availability and any trail closures (they may even mention some other items).  As for how well they are marked, maintained, or condition, does anything really indicate those?  Many of the sources rely on people to report items.  So, how are you sure?  Then, we have the backpackers (not newbies) who rate the trails.  So, is medium really medium for someone starting out?  Is flat really flat or rolling?  medium in Ohio might be different than medium somewhere else (like the Rockies).  Even different trails might be rated medium yet, one is definitely harder than the other.

I am just adding those as all of those items are great but for folks you might find the things a bit different for you.  Certainly, check out all the resources that you can and enjoy.



No, not really.  But here’s thing I preach, when you get an opinion from someone, it’s from their perspective and experience, this is SO IMPORTANT.

A trail someone says is “easy “ might kick my rear! And an easy trail in the rain, fog , sleet (pick a nasty condition) might no longer be “easy “

REI Member Since 1979

Also I personally think most of the trails (that I’ve been on) in CO are easy, meaning, the walking is easy, they are graded and maintained pretty good, but it’s the altitude that will kick your rear.


REI Member Since 1979

Agreed all around, trail reviews and conditions are subjective. It's context and experience of the reviewer that matter / needs to be addressed.