Rating Trail Difficulty: The Results
At the July SMGA board meeting, former president and trail crew member Mark Taylor presented a report on the work done this past spring by students in Dr. Yihong Yuan’s geography class at Texas State. Mark and Joel Barks, assisted by Kenny Skrobanek, Ben Taylor, and Jo Korthals, worked with students Brenna Martin, David Thomasson, and Eric Stewart to rate the difficulty of trails in Purgatory Natural Area and Spring Lake Natural Area.
As Mark explains, “No uniform system is recognized in the U.S., but the most common factors affecting trail difficulty are length and change in elevation. To those, we agreed to add slope, tree cover and trail surface materials. We also agreed with the student group on formulas for how each factor contributes to trail difficulty.”
The final maps the students created show each of the trails in the two natural areas, with the most difficult appearing in red, moderate trails in yellow, and easy trails in green.