Trail Ratings


Staff member
Jan 15, 2002
Toquerville UT
Here's what I've found:

Difficulty 4+: Minimum tire size of 33 inches, and one locker required, two recommended; jacks or winches indispensable due to large boulders, steep inclines, etc. Vehicle damage is very likely.

Difficulty 5: Minimum tire size of 33 inches (35 inch recommended); two lockers required (no limited slips); vehicle width not to exceed 79 inches tire-to-tire; jacks or winches indispensable due to large boulders, steep inclines, etc. Vehicle damage is very likely.

Cruise Moab:
4+ Hardcore: Experienced Driver only, 33" or taller tires, 1 full diff lock required, winch recommended, damage likely

5 Extreme: above plus 2 full diff locks

MODIFIED: Roll bar or hard top, 31" or taller tires, more experience, no fear of dents.

HARD CORE: Roll cage or hard top, 33" or taller tires, winch and gear, at least one fully locked differential, experienced drivers only, no concern for damage or breakage.

Razorback Ramble:
Modified: 31" tires and one difflock recommended, experienced drivers, possible body damage - grit your teeth

Hardcore: 33" or taller tires, 2 diff locks and winch recommended, experienced drivers only, possible body damage...breakout the spare parts

My question is...are these trail guidelines based on the 10 year old view that 33" tires are considered big? 36-38 (and bigger) seem to be cropping up more and more on Cruisers, and rigs are being successfully beefed to address those tires. I know at BHCC 2003, even 35" tires had quite a bit of difficulty on Hal Johns, 36's fared only slightly better...

Are these guidelines part of each individual groups ratings? Should a "5" rated trail REALLY say 33" tires on it, and a participant expect any challenge if they have 36+ tires?

I'll be attending 1 TLCA event a year for quite some time, we had a blast at BHCC03. However, driving 1400 miles each way to CM04 for a "5" rated trail that requires 33" tires leaves me a little concerned that extreme level of challenge I enjoy may not be part of the organized runs...

just some thoughts...
Dec 23, 2002
different events, different event chairs, different views of level of difficulty.

also, in general, these events are targeting the vast majority of attendees, not the few.

in general. broad overview. kinda. sorta.

and the levels of difficulty you're searching for are usually not even scheduled as a run, but more of an outlaw or bootleg run. Those haven't been advertised in the past but we might start to see that change as folks such as yourself specifically seek out those extremely difficult runs.

not providing an answer here, just rambling.

Bottom line, if in doubt, contact the event representatives.
Dec 13, 2002
buggerville nj
Maybe there needs to a Woody system, can be posted on a wooden board next to the start.

A 5 rated trail means he's likely to roll 5 times. A 4 means he's likely to roll 4 time etc. :flipoff2:

Maybe they need to redefine the ratings a tad, like 5 = better have a flatbed, 4 = hope it's not your dd, 3 = for dd's but not on interview days, 2 = access roads to 4 and 5, 1 = kids can play video in the back. Of course then all the trails would have to regraded.

Hmm. Then again, what the heck do I know. :flipoff2:

We need a TLCA event in the east.


Wagon Wheeler!
Jan 29, 2003
MH, IDaho
There is some really a big difference in terrain between the events. And I would say this leads to the difference in what is needed. Moab is very friendly to the smaller tired and less equipped vehicles. The slickrock is like driving on sandpaper. You can do things that would not be possible on other surfaces. I would recommend you hit some of the harder trails before the actual Cruise Moab, then do the 4s or 4+s during CM. Helldorado is closed or I would recommend that to you on your own or outlaw or even night. Proving grounds might suit your fancy. Rusty Nail also has some neat off camber obstacles. Pritchett Canyon would be a good one to do during the event. The Golden Spike is sort of a must have on my Moab list and that is a fairly easy long trail with some neat obstacles towards the end. Golden Spike is offered as a CM run. Hell's Revenge is a fun trail and with Hell's Gate and the Escalator as options it can be challenging enough for folks like you with built rigs. Look for folks with the built rigs and go with them! I'm sure Jeremiah Proffitt will be down or the LSLC would be a good group to get hooked up with. But I'm sure you already knew all of this. Brian hit the toughest trails you can find and have fun, see you at the raffle/dinner.
Jan 24, 2003
Columbia, MO
EV, I agree, there is quite a disparity in what's a 3 one place or another. I think it's probably futile to think we can develope a trail rating system that will work nationwide/eventwide...But, I'll also go on record as thinking that where as 33's and one/two lockers used to be a big dog a few years ago, it seems like 35+ and more gear has turned into "standard battle fare for those who want to go to the more difficult places." I'm not sure how to turn that into something useful for tlca, or if I even want to go there, as maaannnny folks are still showing up wearing 33's and one locker, and expecting to do some of the harder stuff...


Feb 10, 2002
Canton, Mississippi
Yeah, one of the guys in my club was making a trail in Clayton last month and he kept calling it a 5+ trail.

With the Cruisers that were running it, it was difficult, but more like a 3.

We went up it in 2WD just to prove a point.

I think each club hosting the event should decide on how to rank them.

I also think calling a 5 trail one that can be run with 33's is wrong. Trails have gotten MUCH harder in the past few years.

BHCC had Hal John with 35" tire minimum and those with tires under 38" were really holding up the group.

Some rigs with 35's are more capable than others with 44's on the trail.

Tire size should not be the issue. Like the safety inspections....keep the decisions local with the local chapter hosting the event.


The Anti-Leafer
Nov 11, 2002
Dallas, Georgia
I remember seeing Lower 2 at Tellico rated a 10 somewhere. Schoolbus, Slickrock & Helicopter pad were 8's or 9's. I believe that was in my GSMTR registration years ago. After having run Kong at BHCC & Pritchett in Moab (didn't get to run Helldorados or Proving Grounds) & having run Lower 2 at GSMTR a few times, I believe Lower 2 is a step above those in difficulty.


Dec 7, 2002
LC_Hamma said:
I remember seeing Lower 2 at Tellico rated a 10 somewhere. Schoolbus, Slickrock & Helicopter pad were 8's or 9's. I believe that was in my GSMTR registration years ago. After having run Kong at BHCC & Pritchett in Moab (didn't get to run Helldorados or Proving Grounds) & having run Lower 2 at GSMTR a few times, I believe Lower 2 is a step above those in difficulty.

Lower #2 was not very hard a few years ago. It "was" harder last year, but the large rock on the left of the last and hardest obstacle has been removed so it should be easier. School bus and helicopter pad is not hard at all.
Mar 15, 2005
One thing you have to remember is just because a guy has 40" tires doesn't mean he can drive but the guy on 35's behind him might run circles around everyone.

Like Nolan said it has to be up to the locals cus they know best what will go down a trial. Driver, Rig, and tires all have to be considered


not an addict
Jan 30, 2003
windy wyoming
this was actually discussed between a bunch of us rising sun members at moab. some feel that 33's should be required for cm just because of the headaches that it helps to eliminate for the leaders trying to spot newbies through on tiny tires. only problem there is, what do you tell the experienced guys that can take a cruiser on 31's up the same spot the newbie just struggled on. i do think that uprating/downrating some trails may be discussed at the next cm meeting... kane creek has gotten worse and cliffhanger has gotten easier.
another problem is the fact that there are multiple trail rating systems out there. cm uses what was originally a has since gone to 5+. i've also seen some use 1-4, 1-8 and 1-10. that makes it a bit confusing.


Elder Statesman
Supporting Vendor
Apr 14, 2004
Great thread Woody! As Hatfield noted at the CM raffle, there were 35 FJ80s at this year's event. Like it or not [and I am getting MUCH more comfortable with it] we are going to be sharing trails with these rigs for quite some time to come.
Most of these rigs are going to be running tires in the 33" range, so I think that the rating system that uses that as a standard is still a valid one.

That said, I think that a 5 or a 5+ run should have the right to require a 35" minumum tire for the run, for the benefit of the group. Anyone wishing to run that event with sub-standard 'equipment' should have to petition the run leaders for entry, or make their own renegade run of the trail before or after the club run. As others have said, it is not fair to hold up the group for the little guy.

Lastly[ AND PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THIS DEFENSIVELY], if you, or any other rock buggy has built their rigs to the point where the trails are no longer challenging, perhaps it is time to look at other options, like Nolen has done with his family hauler. The TLCA events as a whole reflect a wonderful cameradere as well as an acceptable level of challenge for the vast majority of vehicles and owners, and will not likely change into buggy-level events. Luckily, most of these places also have trails and-or obstacles well beyond the rating system, and from what I have witnessed over the last year, Medusa, gunmetalcruz, Nolen and Jeremiah have an uncanny knack for finding them. None of these guys seem to be particularly bothered if their runs are sanctioned, and neither do they seem to have any difficulty getting a crew together to run with.

I guess what this all boils down to is that the buggy crowd might want to start their own rating system, say one that starts at a 6 and goes up from there!

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