Mountain bike trail grades

What do mountain bike trail grades mean?

Every mountain bike trail is graded to give an indication of its difficulty.

The grades take account of:

  • the trail surface
  • gradients
  • technical features
  • level of fitness needed

The grade for every trail is given on the information panel at the start.

Look out for any “Top of the grade” warning signs - you might want to inspect these features before you ride them for the first time.

Which grade is right for you?

Please read the grading information to make sure you pick a mountain bike trail you can handle – then find the trailhead panel for full details and follow your trail’s special named waymarkers.

Mountain biking is a potentially hazardous activity carrying a significant risk.

It should only be undertaken with a full understanding of all inherent risks.

These guidelines must always be used in conjunction with the exercise of your own experience, intuition and careful judgement.

Forest road & similar grade

  • Gradients can be steep or variable.
  • Surfaces may be uneven, loose or potholed.
  • Navigation skills are useful (routes not always waymarked).
  • Look out for other users, vehicles and forestry work.

Green/Easy grade

  • Relatively flat, wide and smooth trails.
  • Gentle climbs, descents, rollers and berms, with easy to avoid features such as rocks and potholes.
  • Surface might be loose, uneven or muddy at times.

Blue/Moderate grade

  • A mixture of climbs and descents with moderate gradients, technical features like tree roots and rock steps; jumps and berms.
  • Rollable features at controlled speed.
  • Variable surfaces.

Red/Diffi­cult grade

  • A mixture of steep climbs, descents and/or avoidable features.
  • Larger jumps, berms and rollable features at controlled speed.
  • Technical features such as tree roots, drop-offs and large rocks.
  • Very variable surfaces.

Black/Severe grade

  • Long and steep climbs, descents and jumps.
  • Numerous hazards including drop-offs and severe features.
  • Rapid rate of surface change.
  • Commitment required.

Double-black/Extreme grade

  • Very fast and steep descents.
  • Large drop-offs, jumps and unavoidable obstacles that require high levels of skill and commitment.
  • Extreme level of exposure or risk.
  • Rapid rate of surface change

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