Chapter Trip Difficulty Ratings 

Chapter Difficulty Rating

Berkshire, Boston, Connecticut, and Mohawk Hudson Chapters

Distance Pace Terrain
AA, > 13 mi. 1, very fast (2.5 mph or faster) A, very strenuous
A, 9-13 mi. 2, fast (2-2.5 mph) B, strenuous
B, 5-8 mi. 3, mod. (1.5-2 mph) C, average
C, <5 mi. 4, leisurely (< 0.2 mph) D, easy

Delaware Valley & New York - North Jersey Chapters

Pace Terrain Distance
1, leisurely (nature walk) A, solid pavement, sidewalk Estimated miles given as numeric value
2, moderate (steady, comfortable) B, soft ground, sand, carriage trails
3, vigorous (brisk, firm pace) C, hiking trails & gentle rolling hills
4, fast D, steep hills, scrambles possible
5, very fast E, rough terrain, exposure and/or thick brush possible
5, very fast F, extremely difficult terrain, possible sustained exposure

Southeastern Massachusetts Chapter


First character indicates distance in mi: AA=13+; A=9-13; B=5-8; C=under 5. Second is L's pace (avg. terrain): 1=very fast (2.5+ mph); 2=fast (2-2.5 mph); 3=mod. (1.5-2 mph); 4=leisurely (less than 1.5 mph). Third is terrain: A=very stren.; B=stren.; C=avg.; D=easy.


First character indicates distance in mi: AA=50+; A=35-50; B=25-35; C=under 25. Second is L's pace in mph: 1=17; 2=13-16; 3=11-13; 4=up to 11. Third is terrain: A=very hilly; B=hilly; C=rolling; D=flat.


Level 1 No previous or little sea kayak experience is required. Level 2 You should feel that you can perform the following: a) paddle 6 miles in a day given the weather conditions for that day; b) a wet exit; c) maintain a straight heading without the use of a rudder; and d) turn your kayak using forward and reverse "sweep" strokes. Level 3 All of the above, and in addition feel confident in: a) assisting and performing a deep water rescue; b) paddle 13 miles in a day given the conditions for that day; c) paddle in 10 to 15 knot winds with seas of 2 to 3 feet; d) be able to launch and land from a beach in these conditions; e) use a marine band VHF radio. Level 4 All of the above plus: a) paddle 15 miles in a day given the conditions for that day; b) paddle in 20 knot winds; c) handle open ocean, large swells. Level 5 All of the above, and be able to paddle 20 miles in 25 knot winds with adverse sea conditions.

Worcester Chapter


  • Very strenuous (example: upper portion of the Tuckerman’s Ravine Trail on Mt. Washington)
  • Strenuous (example: White Dot Trail on Mt. Monadnock)
  • Average (example: Bicentennial Trail on Mt. Wachusett)
  • Easy (example: most trails at Hopkinton State Park or Trout Brook Reservation in Holden)


  • Very fast (2.5 miles per hours (mph) or faster)
  • Fast (2-2.5 mph)
  • Moderate (1.5-2 mph)
  • Slower (less than 1.5 mph)

Overall trip difficulty

  • Expert (In ski parlance, double black diamond)
  • Advanced (black diamond)
  • Intermediate (blue trails)
  • Easy (green trails)
  • Introductory (novice - bunny slope)

Boston Chapter Bicycling

Leisurely: less that 11 mph average speed
Easy: 11-13 mph average speed
Intermediate: 13-16 mph average speed
Advanced: 16 and over mph average speed

Boston AMC Sea Kayaking Levels

Trip Ranges and Approximate/Possible Maximum Conditions Level 1 Level 2 Level 3
Trip Distance (miles) 5-7 8-13 14-22
Time on Water (hours) 3-4 4-5 5-7
Time Between Breaks (hours) up to 1.5 up to 2 up to 2.5
Avg. Paddling Speed (knots/hour) 1.5 – 2.5 2-3 3-4
Wind Speed (knots) < 10 < 15 < 20
Waves (feet) < 1.5 < 3 < 5
Typical Current (knots) < 1 < 2 1< 3
Distance from shore (miles) < .5 < 1 < 2
Minimum Rescue Skills and [desired] wet exit [assisted re-entry] all Level 1 + [self rescue] [rescue others] all Level 2 + [in rough seas] [towing]