Along with Fitness Levels, one other rating system you'll see on our trips is experience level.  This refers not to your physical fitness level, but to your experience in the outdoors.  We are primarily focused on experience with hiking/backpacking, but skills from other outdoor sports can translate well (multi-day canoeing or bikepacking, for example).  We describe our trips either as Beginner, Novice, Intermediate, or Advanced.

A Beginner trip is suitable for someone with limited hiking experience and/or no backpacking experience.  These trips provide extensive backpacking instruction, a slow pace on trail, and plenty of time at camp.

Hikers joining a Novice trip should have some hiking experience, and may remember going backpacking or camping as a kid.  These hikers should be confident enough on trail that they could spend some time separated from their guide if needed (ex: if the group separates because hiking paces are different).  Novice trips are a great step-up for hikers who have joined our Intro to Backpacking trips in the past.

An Intermediate backpacking trip assumes that hikers have been backpacking before.  They're comfortable sleeping in a tent, familiar with camp chores, etc.  Intermediate trips may have higher daily mileage, requiring hikers to set up or pack up camp relatively quickly.

Advanced trips are for hikers with backpacking experience, who are looking for a supportive place to step up their skills.  Advanced trips may be in very technical terrain, be planned with high daily mileage, or be in very remote areas.

These descriptions are guidelines, based on what we've seen from hikers in the past.  Of course, there are always exceptions.  If you have questions about whether a trip is right for you, feel free to reach out to our office and ask!