Track Classifications

What is the 4WD Recreational Track Classification?
It is a classification system for four wheel drive tracks on public land.

Why was the system developed?
Four wheel driving is a popular recreational activity on roads and tracks across National Parks and Reserves and State Forests. The classifications will enable visitors to understand the nature of a track before beginning their journey. It will allow them to plan their trip for enjoyment, safety and comfort.

Who developed the system?
Representatives from Parks Victoria, the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) and Four Wheel Drive Victoria worked together to develop the system.


The track grading classification scale should be used to assist in advising Trip Leaders and participants on 4WD trips of the type of tracks that they can expect to encounter.

On most 4WD trips participants can expect that a variety of tracks will be traversed each with an appropriate rating. Trip Leaders should advise participants of the range of track ratings expected to be encountered on the planned route.


The following classifications will assist in determining an overall Trip Rating:

Overall Description All Wheel Drive and High Range 4WD. Novice Drivers Mainly High range 4WD but Low range required. Some 4WD experience recommended. Significant Low range 4WD with standard 4WD ground clearance. Should have 4WD driver training. Low range 4WD with High ground clearance. Experienced Drivers
Advisory Sign signage_easy     signage_medium     signage_difficult     signage_vdifficult    
Expected terrain and track conditions Mostly unsealed roads with no obstacles and minor gradients.  Tracks with some steep and/or rocky/ slippery/sandy sections. May have shallow water crossings.  Tracks with frequent steep and/or rocky/ slippery/sandy sections. Possible water crossings.  Tracks with frequent very steep and/or rocky/slippery/sandy sections. May have difficult river crossings.
Vehicle Suitability All wheel Drive and High Range 4WD. Can be low clearance with single range and road tyres. Suitable for medium clearance vehicles with dual range and all terrain or road tyres.  Suitable for medium to high clearance vehicles with dual range and all terrain tyres. Suitable for high clearance vehicles with dual range and tyres suitable for the terrain. (Mud Terrain tyres).
Recovery equipment     Recovery equipment required. Winch / Recovery equipment required. 
Driver Training / Experience Suitable for novice drivers. Recommended that drivers have experience or 4WD training. Recommended to be done in groups of vehicles.  Recommended for drivers with reasonable experience or 4WD training. To be done in groups of vehicles. Drivers with extensive experience and advanced training should only attempt as there are several technical challenges. Recommended to be done in groups of four.
Weather May be difficult in wet conditions. Will be more difficult in wet conditions. Will be more difficult in wet conditions Will be more difficult in wet conditions


What criteria will be used to classify tracks?
There will be six criteria used:

  1. Standard symbols/signage
  2. Terrain and track conditions
  3. Vehicle suitability
  4. Recovery Equipment
  5. Driver training and experience
  6. Weather variations

Explained further, these criteria are as follows:

  1. Standard symbols and signage are used depicting easy to very difficult tracks.
  2. The terrain and track conditions aim to provide a general description of the likely terrain and have limited subjective comments such as ‘boggy’ or ‘rutted’ as these can be interpreted differently by individuals.
  3. The suitability of a vehicle relates to high/low range capability, ground clearance and tyres.
  4. The recovery equipment is advisory only and in line with Tourism Adventure Activity Standards and is not mandatory.
  5. This is to guide the inexperienced driver that it may be in their best interest to have driver training or further experience before attempting more difficult terrain.
  6. Drivers need to be aware of changing weather conditions and how this may affect tracks they are using or planning to use. The tracks are classified in dry conditions and most medium, difficult and very difficult tracks will become more difficult in wet weather.

How will tracks be classified?
Trained assessors from 4WD clubs, together with National Parks rangers or other land managers, will undertake the assessment of tracks. Please refer to the table above to see the classification matrix.