Bikepacking trips travel along mostly backcountry singletrack and hiking trails, often using gravel paths, or fire roads to link them up. Because of the terrain, bikepacking gear setups tend to be lighter than those used for traditional backpacking trips.


Bikepacking trips are restricted to maintained and unmaintained roads and trails with the following exceptions:

  • The trail or road must be approved for bike travel, regardless of land manager.
  • Parties may make off-trail excursions, on the bike or on foot, as long as the party follows LNT and the route does not expose any party member to terrain that is unreasonably hazardous for them to cross, given their skills and experience. Avalanche terrain will be avoided whenever possible during snow traveled biking activities.


The difficulty of a Bikepacking route is rated using this scale as a general guide, and the rating is entered on the activity listing with the specific distance and elevation gain communicated to participants in pre-trip communications.

  • Easy: Up to 30 miles round trip with less than 1,500 feet of elevation gain
  • Moderate: Up to 60 miles round trip, with 1,500-2,500 feet of elevation gain
  • Strenuous: Up to 100 miles round trip, with 2,500-3,500 feet of elevation gain
  • Very Strenuous: Over 100 miles round trip or with over 3,500 feet of elevation gain


To help participants select a ride that suits their style, skills and energy level, group riders can choose a ride with a pace and terrain that they feel confident about, and with a location they are comfortable with.

Pace (Moving Speed)
Pace classification indicates the intended range of speeds on level ground without breaks. This means downhill sections of the ride may be faster, and uphill sections slower.

  • Easy: Under 8 mph
  • Moderate: 9-10 mph
  • Strenuous: 10-15 mph
  • Very Strenuous: over 15 mph

Note: For rides with a “hilly” terrain classification, consider choosing a pace one step down from your usual comfort level.

Terrain indicates the most common or average terrain type of the ride and should be considered relative to the length and overall difficulty of the ride. For example, a long-distance ride with a lot of elevation gain will be overall less challenging than a short ride with equal elevation gain. Consider the pace and frequency of regroup as well to understand how advanced a ride may be.

  • Mostly flat: Trails and/or mostly flat roads with a possible gentle uphill
  • Rolling: Climbs are short and easy, not too numerous
  • Some hills: A few short, steep hills, some moderate upgrades and/or longer gentle climbs
  • Hilly: Consistent or continuous climbing

Indicates how often the leader stops to regroup. Generally faster-paced and longer-mileage rides regroup less frequently. In most situations groups will stay within shouting/whistle distance. It is hard to say with the difference in terrain where a member will be guaranteed to be in ear shot. Riding too close to one another creates an unnecessary risk. “None" and "occasional" regroup categories generally expect experienced riders who can fix their own minor mechanical problems and follow a map or cue sheet if they get separated from the group.

  • Stay together (preferable method of regroup)
  • Occasional
  • Frequent
  • None

All participants must carry the equipment necessary to fix a flat (tube, patch kit, pump). Trip leaders are not responsible for mechanical problems, but should be capable of fixing most trail maintenance issues. Mechanical failures beyond the capability of the team to repair should be considered as emergency situations.


In addition to the route classification, a Leader Rating is specified for each activity. This provides the leader with a way to modify the baseline route difficulty based on specifics of how they will lead the trip. The following are examples of criteria a leader may consider in setting the Leader Rating.

  • Casual: Easy pace on mostly flat terrain, with 1-day overnight gear, no technical challenges or special skills needed
  • Easy: Easy pace on rolling hills, with up to 2-days overnight gear, some technical challenges or special skills needed
  • Moderate: Easy to moderate pace with some hills or hilly terrain, with up to 2 or more days of overnight gear, minor technical challenges or special skills needed (e.g. on trail bike maintenance, rough trail, single track, steep climb, log crossings, steep terrain)
  • Challenging: Moderate to strenuous pace on hilly terrain with up to 4 or more days of overnight gear, some major route challenges (e.g. on trail bike maintenance, very rugged terrain/trail, single track, steep terrain, log crossings, bear canister requirement, carrying water to a dry camp)

Trip leaders clearly specify the distance and elevation gain for the route as well as their planned pace, any special technical challenges and special gear, skills and conditioning requirements of the trip in the trip posting within the activity summary and/or the leaders’ notes.

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