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HomeHiding a GeocacheReview Process: Hiding a Geocache → Ratings for Difficulty and Terrain (D/T)

1.16. Ratings for Difficulty and Terrain (D/T)

When you submit a geocache for publication, you must specify ratings for difficulty and terrain using a 5-star scale. Please try to rate your cache accurately. One is the easiest. Five is the hardest. The difficulty rating covers time and effort in finding the cache (and possibly in signing the log) once at the coordinates. The terrain rating covers the physical effort of arriving at the coordinates. For example:

Difficulty: 1.5 stars Terrain:4 stars

1 star
Easy to find or solve within a few minutes.
Area will likely be paved, flat, wheelchair accessible and will require less than a .5 mile (.8 km) hike.
1.5 stars
Easy to find or solve within about 10-15 minutes.
Most likely a flat, less than a .5 mile (.8 km) hike, but may not be wheelchair accessible.
2 stars
Relatively easy to find or solve within 30 minutes.
Less than a 2 mile (3 km) hike along well-defined paths with no significant elevation change or overgrowth.
2.5 stars
A mild challenge, but relatively easy to an experienced geocacher.
Terrain may have small elevation changes or moderate overgrowth.
3 stars
Somewhat challenging puzzle or hiding spot.
May require a 2+ mile (3+ km) hike on varied terrain and may have elevation changes or significant overgrowth.
3.5 stars
Quite difficult. Be prepared for a mental challenge.
Quite strenuous, extended hike on widely variable terrain.
4 stars
Very difficult and may take special knowledge, advanced preparation or multiple trips.
Very strenuous movement that may include significant distance, overgrowth, swimming and/or elevation changes.
4.5 stars
Extremely difficult. Most likely requires special knowledge or skills.
Extremely demanding movement over potentially hazardous terrain.
5 stars
The most extreme mental challenge. Requires specialized knowledge, skills or significant effort to find, solve or open.
Requires specialized equipment such as scuba gear, a boat, rock climbing gear, etc...

Last updated 8/16/2016

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