National Parks and Wildlife Service SA adopts the Australian Walking Track Grading System 

South Australia’s national parks feature a diverse range of trails allowing park visitors to immerse themselves in nature and explore the different landscapes across our state. Trails varying in length, surface, gradient and remoteness so it’s important that park visitors can choose a walk that best suits their level of fitness and walking experience.

Previously, trails in national parks have been classified under subjective descriptors such as Easy Walk, Moderate Hike, Hard Hike and Trek. The National Parks and Wildlife Service now adopt the Australian Walking Track Grading System which is based on the technical specifications of the Australian Standard Walking Tracks – Classification and Signage (AS2156.1-2001).

Under the system, walking trails are graded on a difficulty scale from grades one to five. You may have noticed these grades appearing on our trailhead signs and parks webpages.

A trail is graded according to its most difficult components the classification criteria. You may find that a trail will often have components which are easier than the trail’s final classification.

I hope this inspires you to go out and explore a new trail in our wonderful parks.

Australian walking track grading system

Grade 1
No bushwalking experience required. Flat even surface with no steps or steep sections. Suitable for wheelchair users who have someone to assist them. Walks no greater than 5 km.
Grade 2
No bushwalking experience required. The track is a hardened or compacted surface and may have a gentle hill section or sections and occasional steps. Walks no greater than 10 km.
Grade 3
Suitable for most ages and fitness levels. Tracks may have short steep hill sections, a rough surface and many steps. Walks up to 20 km.
Grade 4
Bushwalking experience recommended. Tracks may be long, rough and very steep. Directional signage may be limited.
Grade 5
Recommended for very experienced bushwalkers with specialised skills, including navigation and emergency first aid. Tracks are likely to be very rough, very steep and unmarked. Walks may be more than 20 km.

~ Matt Lang, Statewide Trails Officer, National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia