San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance •  107 E. Hopkins St. Suite 121A; San Marcos, Texas 78666

The Loop


What’s Up With the Black & Blue at Ringtail?

Hikers at Ringtail may see blue squares and black diamonds on trail signs – what’s up with that?  These are the symbols that rate trail difficulty for mountain bikers as suggested by the International Mountain Bikers Association. Rating trails can be a tricky operation. It is something like trying to bring uniformity to the rating of how hot a bowl of chili is. Trails happen on all kinds of terrain with different expectations from users who may come from distant locations. Even bike equipment could change the difficulty for any given biker.

It is a good idea however to offer potential riders a sense of what they can expect on the trail so they can choose trails that match their skill level. A challenging ride can also be a successful and safer ride with the right information. Visit IMBA Trail Rating for more about their system, including this table:

Trail Difficulty rating

Todd Derkacz, SMGA Board Member

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