‘Can My Vehicle Make It?’ A Guide to Off-Road Technical Trail Ratings

The onX Offroad App features an integrated Trail Technical Ratings Guide that allows off-roaders to determine whether a trail is accessible by a particular vehicle type. The following Trail Technical Ratings Guide is an overview of what you can expect for each of the ten technical trail ratings, from 1 (Easy) to 10 (Extreme). We’ll also show you how to access technical trail rating information using the onX Offroad App, provide a breakdown of each technical rating, and suggest vehicle types suitable for each trail, so you can avoid precarious situations when riding or driving in the backcountry.

Off Road Trail Ratings
Photo: Boyd Jaynes Photography.

onX Offroad Trail Technical Ratings

The following list of technical trail ratings provides a general idea of what you might encounter on off-road trails while using the onX Offroad App. We understand trail conditions can change quickly and unexpectedly due to weather, closures, new obstacles, and other unforeseen events, so use your best judgment, know your vehicle’s capabilities and limitations, be safe, and enjoy the trip.* Eliminate surprises on the trail and help make your next trip better organized and safe by scouting out your route ahead of time using the onX Offroad App.

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RZR on a technical trail
Photo: Boyd Jaynes Photography.

Trail Technical Rating: 1

Difficulty Level: Easy

Expected Terrain: Dirt or rocky road with gentle grades. Roads are typically two vehicles wide.

Trail Technical Rating: 2

Difficulty Level: Easy

Expected Terrain: Dirt or rocky road, typically not maintained after rain or snow. You may encounter shallow water crossings and obstacles under 12” on the trail, including small ledges.

Trail Technical Rating: 3

Difficulty Level: Easy

Expected Terrain: Uneven, rutted dirt trail with potential for loose rocks, sandy washes, and water crossings less than a foot deep. Potential for mud holes and trail obstacles up to 12”, including ledges and short, steep grades. Roads are typically one vehicle wide with places to pass.

Dirt Bike Trail Ratings
Photo: Boyd Jaynes Photography.

Trail Technical Rating: 4

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Expected Terrain: Uneven, rutted dirt trail with loose rocks, sand, erosion, and washes. Potential water crossings up to a foot deep, mud holes, and obstacles up to 18”, including ledges and short, steep grades. Roads are typically one vehicle wide with places to pass.

Trail Technical Rating: 5

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Expected Terrain: Uneven, rutted dirt trail with loose rocks, sand, erosion, and washes. Potential water crossings up to 18” deep, mud holes, and obstacles up to 2 feet, including ledges and short, steep grades.

Trail Technical Rating: 6

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Expected Terrain: Very rocky, rutted, and off-camber trail with erosion, loose rocks, sand, washes, and obstacles up to 3 feet tall, including ledges and short, steep grades. Potential for deep water crossings with strong currents depending upon the time of year.

Singletrack trail ratings
Photo: Boyd Jaynes Photography.
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Trail Technical Rating: 7

Difficulty Level: Difficult

Expected Terrain: Off-camber trail with deep holes and large rocks that may exceed axle height. Expect erosion, loose rocks, tree roots, sand, washes, shelves, and deep mud holes. Obstacles and ledges up to 5 feet. Near-vertical grades 8-10 feet tall. Potential for water crossings with strong currents. Exercise caution: vehicle damages are possible.

Trail Technical Rating: 8

Difficulty Level: Difficult

Expected Terrain: Off-camber trail with deep holes and large rocks that may exceed axle height. Expect erosion, loose rocks, sand, washes, shelves, and deep mud holes. Obstacles and ledges up to 6 feet, and near-vertical grades 12-14 feet tall. Potential for deep water crossings with strong currents. Exercise caution: vehicle damages are possible.

off road Trail Difficulty ratings
Photo: Boyd Jaynes Photography.

Trail Technical Rating: 9

Difficulty Level: Extreme

Expected Terrain: These trails are for the most advanced off-road riders only. Off-camber trail with deep holes and large rocks that may exceed axle height. Expect erosion, rain ruts, loose rocks, sand, washes, shelves, and deep mud holes. Obstacles and ledges up to 8 feet and near-vertical grades 15-18 feet tall. Potential for deep water crossings with strong currents. Exercise extreme caution: vehicle damages are likely.

Trail Technical Rating: 10

Difficulty Level: Extreme

Expected Terrain: Extreme caution! Recommended only for very experienced off-road dirt bike riders with a terrain-ready motorcycle. Severe grades and off-camber terrain. Expect obstacles exceeding 10 feet and near-vertical grades over 18 feet. Exercise extreme caution: vehicle damages are likely.

*onX Offroad and its affiliates are not responsible for trail ratings, trail conditions, driving/riding ability, or skill level. To see if your vehicle can access a particular trail, use the onX Offroad App to find suggested vehicle types accessible by each trail.

trail technical ratings
Photo: Boyd Jaynes Photography.

Accessing Trail Technical Ratings in the OnX Offroad App

To access Trail Technical Ratings in the onX Offroad App, tap a blue Featured Trail to view an Overview description of the trail, including difficulty, technical rating, total time and distance, and the elevation profile of the trail. Scroll down the page to access the suggested list of vehicles the trail is Accessible By, trail Difficulty and Technical Ratings, and other helpful information such as current weather conditions and user-submitted trail photos.

onx trail difficulty

Check out the detailed trail Overview that includes trail-specific notes with a more detailed description submitted by a local trail user. To determine if your vehicle can access a particular trail, use the Accessible By section in the app to view suggested vehicle types accessible by each trail.

onx offroad trail difficulty descriptions

Pro Tip: To access the full list of trail rating descriptions when in the backcountry while using the onX Offroad App, tap the question mark to the right of the trail’s Technical Rating.

onx offroad trail difficulty ratings

Ready? Use onX Offroad to Access Trail Technical Ratings

We hope this onX Offroad App feature overview helps you plan and choose the proper off-road trails in a given area for your vehicle type so that your next ride is less stressful, better organized, and more enjoyable for everyone involved.

For more tutorials about using the onX Offroad App to its fullest potential, visit our How To Use onX Offroad support page, where you will find in-depth articles about finding places to ride, planning your ride, and using onX Offroad during your ride.

#1 Off-Road GPS
Thousands of trails with seasonal dates, photos, and descriptions. Try for free. No credit card required.

All photos: Boyd Jaynes Photography

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Dale Spangler

Dale Spangler is a lifelong motorcycle enthusiast introduced to two wheels at the age of eight and began racing motocross at 12. After chasing his dream of being a professional motocross racer through the mid-90s, he moved on to a career in the powersports industry, where he’s spent the last 28+ years as a marketing specialist, writer, and content creator.