How To Use Trip Information

How To Use Trip Information

There are a few things to know to help make Road Trip Ryan trip information more useful.

Trips (routes) have details by section. A description of these sections:



Ratings are very subjective and what, I think, is a fair rating for an average outdoor adventurer. Physical ability, weather, season, conditions, and many other factors will affect your trip. If you are new to the outdoors or the region you are doing a trip in, I recommend starting with easier trips before tackling the harder routes. The desert, in particular, can be a very different environment than many are used to. 

Canyon ratings use the ACA Canyoneering system that, though imperfect, seems to be the most commonly used one currently. For more thoughts on the system, see Be sure, if venturing into a canyon, you read the description to make sure it matches your skills and abilities and the skills and abilities of those in your group.  Many accidents are due to intermediate canyoneers taking their inexperienced friends out and getting in over their heads. 

CFS Range

Some trips are dependent on flow rates for being high enough to float, or low enough to be able to safely cross streams or rivers. Cubic Feet Per Second (CFS) gives a range of recommended flows. This, with the description, should give a good sense of what flows are best.  The CFS is generally monitored by USGS and current flows are available on their website:


All length estimates and mileages for trips that don't require a shuttle are round-trip. If a trip is an out-and-back type trip, the distance is both out and back, not one way. If it is a point-to-point type trip, the distance is the full-length point-to-point.

Mileages given are taken from GPS tracks and should generally be pretty accurate. Your mileage may be off a bit due to side trips and/or GPS variability.

Your time estimates are way off!!
Length is a quite variable depending on the group. Time ranges are based on my experience. Usually, my groups are small and average fitness levels, BUT, we generally don't often stop for breaks. When we do take breaks along the way, they are usually relatively short. Our hiking speed is generally about two and a half miles an hour, maybe 3 if it is easy terrain. 

The time at the bottom end of the time range is the time our group took, the upper end is the time I think an average fitness level group with a few more breaks will take. If you take a lot of photos, have navigation issues, take long breaks, or are a bit slower of a hiker, your time may be quite a bit more than the time estimate given.

Important: Particularly in technical canyons, groups size and experience level of ALL members of the group matter! A 4-hour romp for a competent small group can turn into an all-day epic for a group of 12 with a few newbies thrown in! Start with smaller/easier adventures with a small skilled group before tackling larger objectives or bringing along newer folks.

Virtually all of the groups that I have corresponded with that have had epic overnight adventures have been intermediate level leaders taking a large group of inexperienced friends in an intermediate canyon. Keep beginners in beginner-friendly terrain!


This is likely not important to most, but is the USGS quad(s) that are needed for the trip. Before phones and GPS devices became ubiquitous, the USGS 1:24,000 (aka 7.5-minute)  quad was the preferred method of navigation.  


Season is the recommended time I think a route will be best done. Be aware, seasonal conditions can fluctuate greatly from year to year. A heavy snow year may make routes impossible until later in the year, or a hot and dry year may make routes very difficult for those not acclimatized to heat. Season is hopefully a good pointer to when to do a trip, but common sense will also play a part.  


This section specifies any special gear that is needed for the trip.  

For all trips, I carry a 10-essentials kit. For more information see the 10E kit page (  

My standard hiking kit would include a 10E kit, extra layers, a map, plenty of water, and food. 

My standard technical gear is fairly extensive. For details, see the Canyon Primer (


Only technical canyons will specify rappels. This is the number of rappels, and the height of the highest one.  Some groups may do more or less rappels depending on their down climbing skills. 


For canyoneering trips, this will be the amount of water you might expect and if wetsuits are recommended. For non-canyoneering trips, this will be what filterable water is available along the route. 

Flash flood

For canyons or other trips that may pose significant flash flood risks, the risk level is specified here. This is typically low, medium, or high. Be very aware of the weather on trips that specify flash flood danger. Even a low flash flood danger can be hazardous if significant precipitation occurs. 


This is the catch-all for essential notes about the trip that don't fit into other sections. 

Intro (Hype)

The overview section ends with a paragraph or three to introduce the trip, and any history or other pertinent information about it. 

Getting There (Trailhead)

This section gives directions to reach the trailhead. 

Warning!! Many people put the trailhead into their mapping application of choice, such as Google Maps or Apple Maps. Be aware, sometimes these mapping applications give incorrect directions. If using a mapping application, make sure it matches with where you expect to be headed.


The meat of the page provides details on actually doing the route. 


Photos of the route, many submitted by users of the site.


This section contains an interactive map as well as, on the website, a static printable map image. 

Waypoints are displayed in UTM or Degrees minutes seconds format on the website. In the mobile app, the format is selectable under settings. 

Important Note: Waypoints use the WGS84 datum. 


On the website the trailhead weather forecast from is available on the top right of the page. In mobile apps, if there is a data connection available, weather data for the trailhead is fetched from and displayed on the weather tab.