Levels of hiking

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It is possible to distinguish different levels of hiking. When you want to go for a walk or a hike, it is wise to take a good look at the level of the hike. You don’t want to start a hike on a level that is too high or a walk that is a bit too easy. The level of the hike is often based on various elements. Important elements are the length, elevation gain and the way types. All these elements determine the level of the hike. We distinguish hikes on five different levels. Easy, intermediate, challenging, difficult and very difficult.

Easy hike

The easiest among all the levels of hiking are called walks. Walks at this level are suitable for people of all ages who have a basic condition. This means that you have enough energy to be able to exercise on a non-intense level. Walks in this category cover no more than 10 kilometers and have fewer than 500 meters of altitude. They guide you over well-maintained hiking trails. During hikes like these you can enjoy the views and there are plenty of places to take a break. For example on a picknick place or a bench near the path. This category often involves one-day walks that cost you up to a maximum of 3 to 5 hours (depending on the walking speed).

Intermediate hike

For intermediate hikes you need a better condition. They are suitable for hikers who go for a middle length hike of at least 15 kilometers at least once a month. Or for hikers who undertake hikes on a regular basis or do activities based on fitness. Hikes in this category often have around 800 meters of altitude and can go over unpaved roads (where no additional technical skills are needed). These one-day hikes take around 4 to 6 hours (depending on your speed).

*Incidentally, this may also concern hikes that cover somewhat longer distances and fewer elevation gain.

Intermediate hike

Challenging hike

Challenging hikes ask for experience with hiking. We advise to start a hike in this category when you know how it feels to hike a whole day. You need to be in good physical condition and have hiking stamina. These hikes are intended for people who practice an endurance sport. You often need a whole day for the hikes in this category. They contain more than 1,000 meters of altitude and are usually longer than 15 kilometers per day. Therefore it will take you definitely 5 to 7 hours to complete them.

In addition, these hikes lead you over trails, unpaved and difficult to walk on surfaces. The combination of a significant rise and the longer distance make these hikes challenging. When you go for a hike in this category make sure you prepare yourself well. Take enough food and water with you. Are you going for a multi-day trip you even need to have more to pack. Take a look at my packing list to know what you can’t miss while packing.

"The combination of a significant rise and the longer distance make these hikes challenging."

La parròquia d'Encamp

Difficult hike

A hike is considered difficult when it meets the following aspects. It goes over mountain paths, rocks, rougher trails and steep paths. You need to climb when undertaking a difficult hike, spread over the whole hike this needs to be at least 1.000 meters of altitude. Technical necessities are sometimes used during these hikes, but knowledge of these products is not necessary. An optimal physical condition and stamina are essential for practicing these hikes.

In addition, experience with mountain hiking is necessary. Because, these hikes can take a full day up to 6 to 9 hours of walking time. They are also intended for people who practice endurance sport. When undertaking hikes in this category, also think carefully about your equipment and any places where you could spend the night.

Very difficult hike

In this category we talk about hike expeditions on extremely difficult terrain. They go through remote and rugged landscapes that require the hiker to be in optimum physical condition. In some cases a basic knowledge of mountaineering and securing techniques are necessary. It must be possible that you need to submit a record of climbs when you want to undertake expeditions like these. The hikes usually cover several days, longer distances and have a challenging number of altitude.

Are you going to make a hike? Look for inspiration on our overview page.

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