View Full Version : CDT map confusion...
Ok, so I am trying to grasp the concept of the maps for the CDT. I got Ley's maps in the mail, and they are nice. The only problem is the corridor on his maps are narrow. Ideally I would like to get full size maps, and use hi as a guideline to trace out a rough route for the hike.
Every thing I read doesn't make any sense. I have read about dozens of map possibilities to get, but can't find the actual maps. I like National Geographic maps, and would like ot use them when possible, but which maps do I get? Their website doesn't show what mpas follow the CDT, and that could be a hundred maps.
So I guess my question is what maps should I get for what I am wanting? I basically want maps that go from Mexico to Canada that show topo, with roads. Then I will use the Ley CD to trace where the CDT roughly goes, and I can play it by ear as I hike.
I bought all the maps back in '97 and they are still being used by people. (at least 6 times now so they are quite beat up)
Yes, they are hard to gather.
For NM, i used mostly BLM maps 100,000 to one scale. A few of the NM ones are National Forest (NF) maps which are not as good but show the FS roads (forest service) with (sometimes correct numbers)
All of CO, I used Trails Illustrated maps which are great maps. Waterproof, has GPS coordinates on them sometimes, and you can piece together the whole CDT with some research. However they are expensive.
For Wyoming, I used a combination of FS maps, BLM maps, a map set that handled the whole Wind River range and Yellostone TI (trails illustrated) maps.
For MT, again, a mixture although it is mostly FS maps (again Glacier NP is on TI maps)
I hope this helps.
I know that CDT society (Jim Wolf) gives map suppliers on their website.
I ended up using a company in NM that handled getting all my maps for me for a small fee.
I think i paid over $400 for all of them.
I also believe that most people who thru-hike the CDT these days use Jonathon Ley's maps which are free. The problem that they only show a small corridor could be remedied by buying the DeLorme gazetteers for the 4 states and cutting out the relevant pages. ( i also did that in addition to buying all the topos)
That is great for figuring out which town to hitch to or sometimes can even be used as a map if you get off the topo's or decide not to buy one or two just because the trail only goes through a mile or two of it.
Good luck with your dilemna. I do think that going through all of this hassle helps to familarize yourself with some choices you are going to come make during your hike.
The more you study and become familiar with the different kinds of maps and scales, the better you will be at finding out where you are when you are lost. (you will get lost, it's part of the game)
ps. i would give you my complete map list but it's back in the states and I won't be there until Sept or Oct this year. Probably someone else on here can post theirs.
The DeLorme atlases should give you what you're looking for, for planning, resupply, bail-out, and big picture purposes, at a reasonable cost. The topo is very rough, but it's probably good enough for that.
If you leave Ley's route(s), you might need better maps to hike with, like the BLM maps. The version of Ley's maps I used did not show the Wolf route I hiked through Deming. I tried to wing it with the poor maps in Wolf's guidebooks, and that was difficult at times.
Ok, that gives me a lot to work with.
Fiddlehead, you really pegged my intentions. The idea of getting lost doesn't concern me one bit. What I want is to become familiar with the areas I will be going through. Look at enough maps so that if I do get lost maybe something will seem familiar, or my gut feeling will lead me in the right direction. A town that sounds familiar, or a river or major road that should always be on my left or right, etc.
I think the state gazettes will be really helpful. I used them a lot on my blue blazing and hitch hiking on the AT. The topo isn't great on them, but the roads, small trails, and terrain features on them more than make up for that.
I guess I will start with those, and buy the maps for the national parks and national forrests I will hike through. Those will be easy to buy, and easy to find the trail on them with Ley's maps. Then from there I can connect the dots with TI maps, BLM maps, National Geo maps, etc. I guess it's way too overwhelming when you look at the big picture of needing 3000 miles woth of maps. Once I break it down to just needing those first few, then finding maps to connect them to each other it seems much easier.
Anyone have experience with any of the map software that you can download and print your own maps? That may help me with not having to buy an entire $15 map for a 10 mile stretch because the trail just edged along that particular map or loops around the corner.
I work a delivery job right now. The hike really sunk in when I told my partner at work that I will only deliver to a stop we do every other week 22 more times.
...Anyone have experience with any of the map software that you can download and print your own maps? That may help me with not having to buy an entire $15 map for a 10 mile stretch because the trail just edged along that particular map or loops around the corner.
I've been using the TOPO! series software extensively for Colorado and Arizona. I made my own "Ley style" maps for the Arizona Trail, for instance, paying attention to possible re-routes and side trips and increasing the scale in tricky areas. I also input Ley's routes on my Colorado version to double-check mileage and calculate elevation gains along the CDT. It was fun, but not necessary.
I wouldn't automatically recommend it for someone on a budget. It's basically a toy if you already have maps. If Jonothan hadn't published his CDT-ROM, it might be the best option, but you already have the basic data. Printing additional color maps is also ink-intensive, and that stuff isn't free.
Here's a link to Spirit Eagle's map page....
You are finding out that the CDT uses A LOT of maps. At first, I also found it daunting to know what maps I needed/wanted and finding them. Cost can be another concern.
Personally, I tip my hat to Jonathan Ley for gathering all the topos and including many alternates and many useful notes. This must have taken him MANY hours to put together. He updates his maps usually yearly. He shares all the info with others for a ridiculously nominal fee. Ley's maps made it relatively easy for me to print out detailed maps of the route showing the "small" picture".
For the larger picture I got the Delormme Gazetters for NM, CO, WY, ID/MT. I removed only the pages of the Gazetters that were within about 30-40 miles of the CDT and traced my general CDT route onto them. On trail I'll take the Gazetter pages, Ley's maps, the Trails Illustrated maps for Glacier/Waterton, Yellowstone and Rocky Mouintain NPs(I'm taking the route through RMNP). Maybe for CO, since I already have all of the TI Nat Geo maps for the CT(and many of the TI maps for the CT also cover the CDT), I'll use all the TI NG maps for the CDT through CO and follow them instead of Ley's maps. I'll also take the Bob Marshall/Scapegoat Wilderness Map for MT and Earthwalk Wind River Range maps(N and S) to use in WY. I was also allowed to graciously and fortunately borrow some BLM/Forestry maps from a previous CDTer which I'll mail myself on the trail.
I got MANY excellent CDT planning ideas from Pmags CDT planning webpage and Yogi's CDT planning Guide. Both Triple Crowners include links to obtaining the maps you might feel you need. If you are really having problems knowing what maps you need/might want Yogi has organized this info in her guide. She is an admitted map geek. She has organized what maps she used/needed for each state and notes what maps she highly recommends/used the most. She also gives links about how to ontain these maps. You should get her guide if you like maps!