Hike Rating System - how does MountainSummits.com's 5 Star Hike
Rating System work?
MountainSummits.com 5 Star Hike Rating System is, of course, completely
subjective. It is provided as a service to our visitors to provide
a way to help sort through the myriad choices of which hike to take.
In rating hikes, MountainSummits.com considers five factors: views,
difficulty, access, trail quality, and the "wow" factor. Now here's
where we muddle things a bit. Although we always keep the factors
in mind when rating a hike, the number of stars a hike receives does
not always correspond to the number of factors. However,
when it comes to a five star rating, the best, one thing is always true:
this hike definitely possesses the "wow" factor. So, if
a hike receives 5 stars, in our opinion, it is a truly a great hike.
Below are the five factors described in more detail:
The MountainSummits.com 5 Stars Hike Rating System
Good views from the summit and along the trail. Or views so great
from the summit that one doesn't mind no views from the trail.
A trail that is not too easy but not too difficult to hike. A
moderately steep hiking trail so that one feels a sense of accomplishment
at the summit but has not been beaten to a pulp with an unceasingly
To earn this star, the trailhead must relatively easy to reach. You
can drive your car to the trailhead or nearly so and begin your hike.
4. Trail Quality
The trail is well maintained. It is a pleasure to hike because
volunteers who deserve our gratitude have built bridges, water stops,
and keep the trail free from encroaching brush. Also, there is a mother
nature factor here. The trail is free from mosquito infestations or
other natural phenomena such as muck that make hiking unpleasant. There
is a human factor too - overcrowding has not adversely affected the
ambiance on the trail.
5. Wow Factor
This is a mountain that just makes you say, "wow!" One would
tell his or her friends, "You have to climb this mountain, it is amazing,
I love it!" This could relate to excellent views (as on many bald
peaks) or a particularly fun trail to hike (such as a ridgeline).
Once again, this rating system is very subjective and meant only as
a general guide. After using it, please feel free to disagree
wholeheartedly, accept completely, or remain neutral absolutely.