NELSON TRAILS

Trail Difficulty Rating
Trail Difficulty Rating

The physical difficulty rating of each track has been determined by the combination of the categories in the table below; length, total climb, average gradient and track condition.

 

This method is an attempt to create a standardised and measurable rating system. The difficulty levels for each category have been based on logical thresholds that generally align with the variance in people’s fitness and experience.

 

This is particularly useful for tracks that fall into multiple difficulty levels over the different categories. For example Barnicoat Scout Track has a length of only 800 m (very easy), but an average gradient of 50% (very hard); across the four categories it receives a moderate difficulty rating.

 

It is important to consider that track conditions may change at any time through natural phenomena such as slips, washouts, or weather conditions. If you want to search for tracks of certain physical difficulty, use the Search and Filter Tool.

RatingLength (km)Total Climb (m)Average Gradient (%)Track ConditionExample
Very Easy   <1⁓0⁓0Usually sealed, wide, and well-formed. Often wheelchair-friendly. All waterways bridged.Riuwaka Resurgence Walkway
Easy   1-50-1000-5Sometimes sealed, and wide. All waterways bridged.Wainui Falls Track
Moderate   5-10100-5005-10Unsealed, but well-formed and clearly marked. Only major waterways bridged.Maitai Cave Track
Hard   10-20500-150010-20Adequately marked but poorly-formed. Rocky, rooty and often over rugged terrain. Waterways not bridged. Requires sturdy outdoor footwear.Parapara Peak Track
Very Hard   >20>1500>20Classed as route rather than track. Unmarked, poorly defined and not maintained. Traversing very rugged terrain, e.g. alpine ridges. Requires navigation experience.Douglas Range Traverse (Cobb Valley to Boulder Lake)
Very Easy   
Length (km)<1
Total Climb (m)⁓0
Average Gradient (%)⁓0
Track ConditionUsually sealed, wide, and well-formed. Often wheelchair-friendly. All waterways bridged.
ExampleRiuwaka Resurgence Walkway

 

Easy   
Length (km)1-5
Total Climb (m)1-100
Average Gradient (%)1-5
Track ConditionUsually sealed, wide, and well-formed. Often wheelchair-friendly. All waterways bridged.
ExampleWainui Falls Track

 

Moderate   
Length (km)5-10
Total Climb (m)100-500
Average Gradient (%)5-10
Track ConditionUsually sealed, wide, and well-formed. Often wheelchair-friendly. All waterways bridged.
ExampleMaitai Cave Track

 

Hard   
Length (km)10-20
Total Climb (m)500-1000
Average Gradient (%)10-20
Track ConditionAdequately marked but poorly-formed. Rocky, rooty and often over rugged terrain. Waterways not bridged. Requires sturdy outdoor footwear.
ExampleParapara Peak Track

 

Very Hard   
Length (km)>20
Total Climb (m)>1500
Average Gradient (%)>20
Track ConditionClassed as route rather than track. Unmarked, poorly defined and not maintained. Traversing very rugged terrain, e.g. alpine ridges. Requires navigation experience.
ExampleDouglas Range Traverse (Cobb Valley to Boulder Lake)