Hike and Backpack Rating System:
The rating system is a 3-part code describing the difficulty of the outing. The first part, a capital letter, refers to the difficulty of the trip; the second part, a number, states the number of miles that will be traveled (it's the longest day for a multi-day trip); and the last part, another capital letter, refers to the total elevation gain or loss for the day.
E = Easy: Anyone in reasonable condition can do this trip.
M = Moderate: You must be in good shape, but previous hiking experience is not required.
H = Hard: You should have comfortably done a few moderate trips before attempting this. Look carefully at the mileage and elevation gain.
S = Strenuous: Talk about this trip with the leader. A fast pace or other challenges may be involved.
This is the number of miles, rounded to the nearest mile, traveled (it's the longest day for a multi-day trip).
A = less than 500 ft.
B = 500 - 1,000 ft.
C = 1,001 - 2,000 ft.
D = 2,001 - 3,000 ft.
E = over 3,000 ft.
U = Unrated
M8C is a moderately difficult day hike which requires going 8 miles (on the longest day for a multi-day trip), and which could climb or descend up to 2,000 ft (in any one day for a multi-day trip).