Topliff Hill near Utah Lake

Hiking Maps and Books

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I can get a bit obsessed about maps. Once my wife used one of my maps as a coaster for her drink, which just about ended our marriage. I believe topographical maps are the most valuable item you can carry in your backpack. If you are new to topographic maps, you should do every hike with a map in hand, identifying features on the ground and correlating them with the map. This is the fastest way to learn this valuable tool, good map reading is the key to successful adventures. When I first started hiking and climbing, I was always reading books for ideas where to go. These days, all I need is a map. The map will tell you almost everything you need to know and what to expect. If you want to know what the plant life will be like along the trail, buy a book. It takes time but you will be able to visualize an area so well, youíd think you been there before.

I think every map is valuable for some amount of information but some maps are definitely better than others. Although I love the DeLorme State Maps, their detailed topographical hiking maps on CD suck. The real USGS maps are the ones to use for hiking and only certain companies like National Geographic have these maps in their CDís and fold-out maps. Buying paper maps is crazy. You would need hundreds of USGS paper maps for all locations you will go. Purchasing the entire state on CD, then printing them is the best option. Sometimes a semi-detailed map is nice such as the Green Trails maps in WA. These cover a larger area with 100 foot contours instead of 40. Other times, itís nice to have a large fold-out map of an entire National Park or Wilderness Area. Try to get a map with contour intervals of 40 feet. Contours of 80 feet is acceptable but anything more is dangerous for off-trail use.
DeLorme Atlas and Maps
This is what I use to get me to the trailhead. They also are best for overall trip planning when deciding where to go. Iíve placed notes all over the map with additional information Iíve learned from the internet or others. Other notes include where Iíve printed detailed maps so I know Iím ready to go to that area to hike or climb.
Oregon Atlas and Gazetteer

Oregon Atlas and Gazetteer

If traveling beyond Interstates and main highways is your idea of the open road then this is the Oregon Atlas for you. Delorme Atlases and Gazetteers are topographic maps of an entire state, formatted in a convenient book. The road information runs the entire spectrum, from national interstates, to dirt roads and trails. Ideal for finding those out-of-the-way campsites or remote lakes and streams. Each Atlas has a complete gazetteer for quick and thorough reference. Also included information about wildlife, scenic drives, parks, museums, historic sites, campgrounds, hiking, fishing, and now GPS grids When you head off the main road, take a Delorme Atlas and Gazetteer with you.This Oregon Atlas features GPS Grids and Tick Marks Index of Place Names Fishing Access Golf Courses and Recreation Areas Bicycle Routes Unique Natural Features Hunting Information Centers Wildlife Refuges State Parklands Boat Ramps Oar and Paddle Trips Shaded Relief Map for entire state Scale of 1150,000 (12.4 miles) for pp. 17-71 (western half); 1300,000 (14.8 miles) for pp. 72-88 (eastern half)Special Feature BLM and State Lands color coded


Arizona Atlas and Gazetteer
California Atlas and Gazetteer
Colorado Atlas and Gazetteer
Idaho Atlas and Gazetteer
Montana Atlas and Gazetteer
Nevada Atlas and Gazetteer
Oregon Atlas and Gazetteer
Utah Atlas and Gazetteer
Washington Atlas and Gazetteer
Wyoming Atlas and Gazetteer

DeLorme State Maps

Regional Fold-out Maps

National Geographic TOPO CDS

Even though I might have the state maps on CD, itís nice to have one big trail/topo map to give you trip ideas for a specific region. Sometimes loop trips and traverses just get missed while scouting out ideas on a computer. While on a longer trip, itís also nice to have a map with the whole region incase plans change. Iíve walked off my printed maps many times or had to start at a different trailhead because of road damage. There are differences: my National Geographic ďTrails IllustratedĒ maps have a contour interval of 80 feet but their maps on CD have 40 foot contours...a big difference when off trail. I also buy fold-out maps if Iím just visiting that state infrequently. Iíve only invested in the CDís for my home states and one other I visit often.
This is what you want if you get out a lot, especially if you go where others may not. Even if you went to the local hiking shop and bought every trail map, there will still be areas where no ďhikingĒ maps are available. The USGS maps cover the entire state. They have a few disadvantages. The trails may not be up to date or there at all. Roads are marked but there is no guarantee whether they are 2WD or 4WD. What will be there is the terrain, with as detailed contours as possible. This is what will get you out alive.
National Geographic TOPO! Washington

National Geographic TOPO! Washington

National Geographics Topo CD-ROM set for Washington contains every topographic map you could possibly need for the state. Explore the outdoors with award-winning TOPO Map Software. Each CD-ROM features seamless statewide coverage from USGS maps. Design, customize, and print your own topographic maps. Trails profiles make it easy to visualize your hike. 3-D relief shading can be turned off or on, bringing each map alive. The 124,000 scale provides exceptional detail, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. The set includes CD-ROMs with more than 1,900 scanned USGS maps enhanced with digital 3-D shading. Youll be able to interact with the maps in more ways than you would think possible. Draw freehand routes and upload to a GPS Reference thousands of preloaded GPS waypoints Create custom text, symbols, and map overlays 124,000 scale maps with seamless statewide coverage Navigate and scroll through the entire map area without borders Photo quality resolution for printing Works with all color and black amp; white printers supported by Windows Supports most popular handheld GPS receivers manufactured by Garmin, Eagle, Lowrance, and Magellan Direct link requires inputoutput capabilities and a PC cable (sold separately) This set will enthrall the tech-savvy outdoor explorer. You wont find mapping software with more detail or customization options. Its an excellent planning tool for backcountry adventures or road trips.


National Geographic TOPO! California
National Geographic TOPO! Colorado
National Geographic TOPO! Idaho
National Geographic TOPO! Nevada
National Geographic TOPO! Oregon
National Geographic TOPO! Wyoming
Maps and books
Trails Illustrated Guadalupe Mountains National Park Trail Map

Trails Illustrated Guadalupe Mountains National Park Trail Map

This Trails Illustrated folded map offers comprehensive coverage of Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas. Lists wilderness tips and Leave No Trace guidelines, along with trails, trailheads, points of interest, campgrounds, geologic history and much more. Printed on waterproof, tear-resistant material with a plastic coating that offers supreme durability for your next outdoor adventure. Includes selected waypoints in both Lat./Lon. and UTM coordinate systems as well as GPS-compatible UTM grid lines for easy navigation. Measures 9.25 x 4.25 in. folded and 37.75 x 25.5 in. fully opened; scale of 1:35,000. National Geographic Maps; copyright 1983 (revised 2007).


All kinds of maps picked up over the years
Trails Illustrated Zion National Park Map
Trails Illustrated Grand Teton National Park Trail Map
Trails Illustrated Longs Peak Trail Map
Trails Illustrated Denali National Park and Preserve Trail Map
Trails Illustrated Rocky Mountain National Park Trail Map
Trails Illustrated Yellowstone National Park Trail Map
Trails Illustrated North Cascades National Park Trail Map
Trails Illustrated Boulder / Golden Area Map - Colorado
Trails Illustrated Mount Rainier National Park Trail Map
Trails Illustrated Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park Trail Map
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