Free Shipping on Orders Over $60

National Geographic Just Made it Easy to Find Free Topo Maps for Your Next Hike


by Austin Campbell August 10, 2016

CloudLine Hiking Socks are Ready for All Your Summer Adventures. Shop Now!

Now There is No Excuse for Hiking Without a Map

National Geograpic Just Made it Easy to Find Free Topo Maps for Your Next HikeFind Free Topographical Maps for Backpacking and Hiking

The first item on the updated 10 Essentials list is navigation, yet many hikers explore new trails without bringing a map. Luckily, National Geographic just made it easy to make sure you have a map for every hike with their free printable PDF USGS Topo Map site. USGS Topo Maps have long been available for free online, but it was hard to find the map you needed, and they were a pain to print because they weren't sized to print on a standard printer. National Geographic just solved both of these complaints with their new easy to navigate website. And as an added bonus they have upgraded each USGS map with hillshadding, to help adventurers better visualize the terrain they will be hiking in. 

 

Finding the Correct Map for a Hike is Easy

Simply visit www.natgeomaps.com/trail-maps/pdf-quads and if you know the area you want to hike in you can use the search bar to find maps in that area. Or if you aren't sure where you want to hike you can explore the available maps by clicking to zoom on the state you are interested in. 

National Geograpic Just Made it Easy to Find Free Topo Maps for Your Next Hike

 

Each PDF Quad Downloads with 5 Printable Pages 

Once you find the map you need you can download it for viewing digitally or printing. The 1st page (example below) is an overview of the 4 printable quads and other contextual information about the map, such as which quads surround the map you are viewing and declination for adjusting your compass.  

National Geograpic Just Made it Easy to Find Free Topo Maps for Your Next Hike

Pages 2-5 are the detailed quads in 4 pages (example below) that have been formatted to fit your home printer. We like to print these maps on waterproof paper to protect them from the frequent Pacific Northwest rain. You can print the maps double sided to save paper, but printing one sided will allow you to layout the 4 pages and study the full area as you plan your hike.

National Geograpic Just Made it Easy to Find Free Topo Maps for Your Next Hike

 

Keep in mind these free USGS Topo Maps from National Geographic won't alway show every hiking trail or the detailed trail distance information that you would find on a Green Trails Map. But if you are a hiker that likes to explore the backcountry or need a free map to round out your 10 Essentials then be sure to visit www.natgeomaps.com/trail-maps/pdf-quads.

 

Pin this Story

 



Austin Campbell
Austin Campbell

Author

Austin lives in the Pacific Northwest where he enjoys hiking and backpacking in the Olympic and Cascade mountains.






Leave a comment


Also in The CloudLine Hiking & Backpacking Blog

Event Series: Thru-Hiking Te Araroa in New Zealand
Event Series: Thru-Hiking Te Araroa in New Zealand

by Austin Campbell March 17, 2017

CloudLine ambassadors Justin and Patrice Lavigne live a life less ordinary. They are constantly doing what they love and that involves adventures like thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2011, living in their van for months at a time, spending the summer guiding kids on outdoor adventures at summer camps, writing for Backpacker's Magazine, and in 2015 they thru-hiked New Zealand's long trail, Te Araroa. 

Beginning May 1st, 2017 the Lavigne's will be hitting the road in their camper van to speak about their thru-hike of Te Araroa at 31 events across the country. 

Read More

11 Books About Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail that Aren't "Wild"
11 Books About Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail that Aren't "Wild"

by Austin Campbell March 02, 2017

Whether you are currently prepping for a 2017 thru-hike or just dreaming about someday checking the PCT off your bucket list, we've collected 11 books about the Pacific Crest Trail to add to your reading list. The PCT runs 2650 miles from Mexico to Canada and draws thousands of hikers for day hikes and thru-hikes each year. If you read Wild by Cheryl Strayed and loved it then these lesser known books about the Pacific Crest Trail will be right up your alley. Pick a couple or read all 11, and then at least go for a day hike on the PCT this summer or start planning your future thru-hike!

Read More

Six Washington State Parks Worth Checking Out
Six Washington State Parks Worth Checking Out

by Brandon & Stacy from Pacific North Wanderers February 15, 2017

With well over 100 state parks in Washington, there’s always something to explore without traveling too far from home. The state’s many parks are located on the coast, in the mountains, on islands, and far out east. Many of the parks offer a range of activities from camping to hiking to exploring old bunkers when the park was once a fort. We’ve put together a list of our six favorite parks to visit.

Read More