View Full Version : Free or cheap map/trail guide options

02-03-2016, 01:30
Iíve been working on making and acquiring maps for hiking the trail. What is the best source for trail guides for the entire AT? It seems like there are lots of individual guides created by the regional trail clubs, but only a few that cover the entire trail. Forum gurus, which maps are best? And which ones are optimal for a limited budget?

On this topic, Iíve compiled an ďant-trailĒ type text map, the sort I use for route directions on XC cycling tours. I took the data from this really helpful google map of the AT shelters and trail towns:

If any other 2016 hopefuls or forum folks would like to use the text map, hereís a link to a google doc:
Iíll endeavor to keep the google doc updated as I make changes. The text lists the shelters, road crossings, and towns along the trail, all with labeled or estimated mileages. Any town that has a grocery store visible from google maps is listed in bold. Any town that has few to no amenities beyond a post office is marked "USPS." Rough approximations of the distances from the trail to trail towns are listed in curly brackets, following a simple abbreviationó the prefix is a number followed by a lowercase m, indicating the number of miles, and the suffix is the predominant cardinal direction of travel; e.g. {6mSW} = six miles southwest.

Also, I have a few PocketProfile AT maps by AntiGravityGear. I have doubles of #1, #16, #17, #18, and #19, and a full set of New England (#16-22). If anyone wants them, PM me and I can mail them to you. The website for the maps is below:

Hope this post finds use with some of the folks who took the time to read it!

02-03-2016, 01:43
Join ALDHA for a pittance (aldha.org), and you have free access to the PDF of their guide, which is excellent.

02-03-2016, 14:47
AWOL guide, the best for $25

02-03-2016, 16:17
Great, thanks guys! That's exactly the information I needed!

02-03-2016, 18:51
I kind of like the PocketProfile maps. They have all the info you need and are easier to use then the guide book. But it looks like one would need about 20 of them to cover the whole trail and at $3.95 each, that's adds up to a tidy sum.

But you really don't need maps if you use one of the forementioned guide books.

02-07-2016, 12:08
AWOL guide seems great to me, I have not put it to use yet but considering the expense of the trail its cost is trivial. I think I paid $16 on Amazon.

02-16-2016, 00:47
http://www.wikitrail.org/ Some of the features are down right now, but it's generally pretty good as a free resource.

02-17-2016, 18:20
I can tell the AWOL guide is going to be extremely useful just by flipping through it. At a glance, you can see water sources, elevation profiles, shelters and campsites. I will also be carrying the pocket profile maps because they're virtually weightless and I enjoy having maps. I wouldn't consider any map option other than the pocket profile maps. $80 may sound like alot, but the thru hikers map set sold by the ATC is over $200. I've spent hours map shopping and they're the lightest and the most affordable i've found.

02-22-2016, 01:18
AWOL guide, the best for $25

Too heavy. Get the AT Data book and trim down the empty margins at top, bottom, and one side.

I used the AT data book for my 2010 thru and it was perfectly fine.

02-22-2016, 01:19
Also, you really don't need maps. The AT is well blazed and you won't get lost. I'd only use maps for the CDT, with a compass, where you actually have to navigate some of the time.

02-22-2016, 06:59
You dont need maps to hike much of the AT
You do need them to know where you are relative to towns, and where roads lead to due the the erratic meandering of the trail. Its prudent to carry them in some form.

02-22-2016, 10:16
I was able to purchase the Thru-Hike companion and Data book for under 30$ from the ATC, a little different from the maps your looking for but an easy purchase that is well worth it!