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Sierra Club Motherlode

Motherload Chapter California Map

Hike Classifications

The Mother Lode Chapter uses a simple system to classify day hikes. A day hike's classification is expressed as "Grade 1B" or simply "(3D)", where the number represents the total estimated mileage of a trip and the letter represents the total estimated elevation gain for the day.

In most cases there will be an equal amount of descent. Some trips may also have a limitation on the size of the group or other special restriction for safety reasons or to reduce impact on the environment. If you have questions about whether you are in condition to participate on a hike, call the leader to discuss it.

Grade 1 (less than 6 miles) A (less than 1,000 feet elev. gain)
Grade 2 (6 to less-than-10 miles B (1,000 to less-than-2,000 feet elev. gain)
Grade 3 (10 to less-than-15 miles) C (2,000 to less-than-3,000 feet elev. gain)
Grade 4 (15 to less-than-20 miles) D (3,000 to less-than-4,000 feet elev. gain)
Grade 5 (20 or more miles) E (4,000 or more feet elev. gain)