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

1.18. Ratings for difficulty and terrain (D/T)

Every geocache has a difficulty rating and a terrain rating on a 5-star scale.

Ratings vary from one community to the next. A 3-star terrain in Banff, Canada, is a different experience than a 3-star terrain in Amsterdam, Holland. Please rate your cache accurately based on standards in your area and guidance in the table below.

Tip: Event caches should always have a 1-star difficulty rating because it is easy for geocachers to “find” events. They are in plain sight or can be found in a few minutes of searching. It does not matter how difficult the event activities may be.

RatingDifficulty
Effort needed to solve and find the cache and logbook at GZ.
Terrain
Physical effort needed to arrive at coordinates.
1 star
Easy to find or solve within a few minutes.
The hike is less than 0.5 mile (0.8 km) and wheelchair accessible (attribute required). Most likely paved and flat.
1.5 stars
Easy to find or solve within 10-15 minutes.
The hike is less than 0.5 mile (0.8 km). Most likely flat but may not be wheelchair accessible.
2 stars
Relatively easy to find or solve within 30 minutes
The hike is less than 2 miles (3 km) along well-defined paths with no significant elevation change or overgrowth.
2.5 stars
A mild challenge, but relatively easy for an experienced geocacher.
Terrain may have small elevation changes or moderate overgrowth.
3 stars
A somewhat challenging puzzle or hiding spot.
The hike may be more than 2 miles (3 km) on varied terrain - too difficult to ride a bike due to 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, 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, tools, or significant effort to find, solve, or open.
Requires specialized equipment such as scuba gear, a boat, rock climbing gear, or similar.

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