View Full Version : CDT Mapbooks and Waypoint Data

02-01-2012, 20:04
After over two weeks of mind-numbing work, the waypoints for MT/ID are complete. They are now on the website. The entire official route is now available.

I apologize if I have seemed evasive to those who have been contacting me about the future of the Mapbooks. It was not until this morning that I knew what was going to happen. I have managed to acquire the rights to continue publishing the Mapbooks for New Mexico and Colorado under the Bearcreek umbrella. This means I will spend the rest of this winter producing new Mapbooks for Wyoming and Montana/Idaho. The NM and CO Mapbooks are being moved to the Bearcreek site at Lulu where I currently sell my Mexico Silver Trail book.

There are links to the books at www.bearcreeksurvey.com (http://www.bearcreeksurvey.com) which is also where the waypoints are. The waypoints are free.

Or you can go directly to the Lulu listings at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/bearcreek1035 if you want to get a book.

Guides become obsolete as trail development continues. The closure of CDTA will probably slow development a bit, but regardless, I intend to spend time each summer gathering gps data for any and all changes. I intend to re-publish the books in a timely manner each winter so they remain current and correct.

The New Mexico and Colorado books will be re-published first (next winter) so if you find notable changes or errors in those please let me know. The USFS has indicated that they will keep me informed of changes, but we found considerable amounts of unreported activity and changes on our original survey so it would be great to get field reports from thru-hikers.

best wishes,

Jerry Brown (bearcreek)
mailto:[email protected] ([email protected])
www.bearcreeksurvey.com (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/www.bearcreeksurvey.com)

02-02-2012, 00:11
Thanks for all your hard work in not only producing the books, but also doing the leg work (ha! :D), in making these books avail know that the CDTA is gone.

05-11-2012, 20:20
Dear Bearcreek,

When would the latest be available if starting NB in April 2013? Also I am thinking bout purchasing TOPO US from Garmin for cdt states. Good?

05-12-2012, 09:43
There is a lot of trail building scheduled in NM, CO, and MT which I will be inventorying in late summer. Some large projects that have been in progress will become complete and I expect to have about 100 miles of new trail to map. All of the Mapbooks will be updated next winter to be ready for the 2013 season.

While the Garmin GPS units themselves are fairly accurate, the top maps they sell for them are considerably less so. They are useful as a general guide as long as you don't zoom in too closely, and should be helpful. Get the maps, but don't expect too much. If you haven't settled on a GPS yet I would suggest you get one of the new inexpensive GLONASS enabled ones like the Etrex 20 or 30. Adding the Russian satellites creates twice as many geometry possibilities, and they work way better in obstructed marginal areas such as big tree canopy and deep canyons.

05-12-2012, 17:34
Thank you Bearcreek. I'll be waiting!
GPS-I already have a Garmin Oregon 450. I thought the Topo US I mentioned would be good basemap. right? These are for different states)

05-13-2012, 15:52
Bearcreek, what GPS do you use to do your maps? Just curious.

05-13-2012, 21:29
Bearcreek: do you know where I can obtain a list of all the Nat'l Forests the CDT runs thru?

05-14-2012, 18:14
Bearcreek, what GPS do you use to do your maps? Just curious.

We used three pro-grade GPS receivers running simultaneously. Since I won't have my crew any more, I will be carrying two from now on. They are a Ashtech ProMark 100 and a Ashtech MobileMapper 6. The Promark is a GLonass enabled GPS that has a real time accuracy rating of 1/2 meter using SBAS. (which is called WAAS on a recreational GPS.) The MobileMapper 6 is rated as sub meter. Real time accuracy is the immediate result you get when you turn on a gps and record your position. Both of those gps receivers collect a lot of extra satellite information which makes it possible to improve the accuracy more over the real time by a office procedure known as post-processing.

If this link works it will show a picture of the PM100 and antenna:


Recreational gps receivers do not post process, but are inexpensive, light, and much more user friendly than the pro grade ones. They perform in the 5-10 meter accuracy range which is more than good enough for finding waypoints.

Bearcreek: do you know where I can obtain a list of all the Nat'l Forests the CDT runs thru?

I would just get a 50 states map atlas. They are shown and identified.

05-24-2012, 10:52
Just wanted to say thanks all your hard work in putting the CDT map books together and making the associated waypoints available.

Really valuable information.


07-31-2012, 22:09
Also, I just wanted to mention that the waypoints into my GPS have been highly valuable on the CDT this year.

One thing -- my GPS shows blue flags at certain points along the CDT. When Pearson and I arrived at the points where there were supposed to be blue flags, all we saw was a big pile of rocks. Right away we were gonna bust up that pile of rocks because it was ruining the primitive experience we were lookin' for but then -- the thought came to us. We figured those rocks were there to hold up the blue flags that the crazy wind had probably blown away.

Well, Pearson and I got to thinking. We decided we were gonna put the blue flags back up into the pile of rocks so the people behind us would know they'd reached one of the magic blue flag points that showed up on their GPSes.

So we went back to town and got some custom made blue flags to carry along with us (stickin' out of the tops of our backpacks as we hiked) so as people behind us on the CDT could more easily see the points of reference shown on their GPS. That extra weight caused us to slow down a mite seeing as we were carrying more vittles and you can't get enough vittles into Pearson on a hike.

Anyhow, we put up a bunch of blue flags to replace the ones that musta got blown over in the wind before we'd arrived at those special waypoints that showed as blue flags on the GPS.

Just tryin' to do our part.


11-04-2012, 22:24
Hey Jerry and Bear Creek Survey;Thanks again for posting your updated waypoint and POI files for 2013. It is great having up-to-date alignment info and accurate maps for the official CDNST route.I was one day behind you when you were gps-ing the Cowbone Lake re-route. I finished my 4 year section/chunk hike right after the new section of trail. I would strongly suggest that every hiker take a copy of your maps, a copy of the Ley maps, and if you choose to take a gps; a copy of your waypoint and/or POI Files. (And the track files below)As I have posted here before, I have created a web site to share a rough hand drawn track alignment based off of the CDNST alignment. I have also posted several track files for the major "Alternate routes" based off of the Ley map sets. These include Macs Inn, Creede, the old Pie Town route and Ghost Ranch……..etc. New this year are spur trails such as the routes to Pindale, WY.Please, everyone have a look at these files and look for any errors or suggestions.https://sites.google.com/site/frankgilliland/StarMan<frankgilliland> <at> <gmail> dot <com>

11-15-2012, 11:21
I have been getting some inquiries from new hikers about methods for loading their GPS receivers with the downloadable GPX and POI files. Just added a page to the Bearcreek website with some information on this. The page is here:


bamboo bob
11-24-2012, 20:20
I've loaded all of waypoints into my GPS for the entire trail. But I only seem to be able to find one set. I had NM 1 and NM2 and now thinking I had it right loaded all the rest of the trail Co to Canada. But when I looked for them I just seem to find CO 1. Some one know what I've done wrong?

11-25-2012, 19:59
I've loaded all of waypoints into my GPS for the entire trail. But I only seem to be able to find one set. I had NM 1 and NM2 and now thinking I had it right loaded all the rest of the trail Co to Canada. But when I looked for them I just seem to find CO 1. Some one know what I've done wrong? I've got a DeLorme, so I won't be much help. On mine, one copies all the different waypoint files only the waypoint directory of the SD card that's loaded into the GPS device, then uses the waypoints menu to load whichever waypoint file is appropriate to the location.

Whatever you do, don't leave home without the waypoint files. They are a real help in keeping found.

11-29-2012, 19:33
I’ve just put a couple of pdf files on the BearCreek website that might interest those of you who will be carrying smartphones on the CDT.

The first file is a reproduction of all the reference information including the Mapbook Segment mileage tables for all four books, plus the pages which are at the beginning of each Mapbook listing what all the waypoint codes mean, information on map/compass, how to use UTM, etc., etc.

The second file is a tabular listing all the waypoints for the entire trail in Lat/Long and UTM formats. It also has elevations for the waypoints in case you like to use a altimeter. You could use it to manually enter waypoints into a GPS in a pinch.

I have tested them out on a Blackberry and a Ipad. Should work on a Iphone or any other smartphone that can read pdf’s as well. You need to save them on your computer, then send them to yourself as an attachment to an e-mail, then receive the e-mail on the phone. Then open the attached pdf’s to get the information. Some phones might need to have a app installed to read the pdf’s.




best wishes,

Jerry Brown

12-20-2012, 20:30
I have posted a document with illustrations showing exactly how to obtain and add free maps to a Garmin SD card which also contains waypoints or tracks. This will allow users to load waypoints and background maps into their gps units without requiring a computer. Tested and works on a Etrex 30 and Colorado. Should work on all the newer Garmin devices that use SD cards.



12-22-2012, 23:22
Thanks a million for this! I was dreading trying to figure out how to do all that after last attempt failed. One question about the free maps: Do you have any knowledge as to their accuracy? The disclaimer on their website put me off a little bit.
Once again, I'm very grateful for your work!

12-23-2012, 11:43
The background maps in Garmin and other makes of recreational grade gps receivers are raster images. Raster maps are inherently less accurate than conventionally drawn topographic maps, but are usually in the ballpark. The alternative is to carry a mapping grade gps which has the horsepower to show actual topographic maps, but that is impractical due to expense and weight. Personally, I would never rely solely on a raster based gps map, but in combination with a good topo it is certainly more helpful than a gps without maps.

Using the downloaded data, I spent about three hours creating a set of maps for the entire trail. I made two maps per state and three for MT to match the waypoint files. Then I did some spot checking against the mapbooks and the Garmin maps on a gps. The download version seems to me to be usable, but they are not quite as good as the ones sold by Garmin. I found some coloring errors where lakes are not shown blue, little stuff like that, but the positioning seemed fine everywhere I checked. An example - Lake of the Woods (16_019XR) in WY is not shown blue on the download version, but it is on the Garmin one. It is identified as a lake in both sets, however, and the waypoints appear in the same place.

One nice thing about the downloaded version is that they have smaller file sizes than the Garmin ones. I easily loaded the multiple sets I made for the entire CDT into the internal memory of a Etrex 30. If I were hiking the trail again I would carry printed maps, the downloaded maps on a Etrex, and the waypoints loaded on SD cards. I would also load the POI's as a backup.

01-13-2013, 10:09
I ordered the SD cards that have all the waypoints for CDT. The set up and offer looks real good. I like how you can load the info from the card into the GPS, remove the card and you got it. Thanks Bearcreek!

01-17-2013, 23:38
BearCreek: I received today all the books and the SD Cards with Waypoints. I am overwhelmed by the quality and workmanship. Thanks thanks. Wow! The maps are awesome and all the info! Your explanations at the front of each map book is very informal and teaching good stuff. This is worth much more then I paid for them. Thanks Bearcreek. I will be singing your praises a lot. -SunnyWalker

12-04-2013, 13:09
Lulu has a 25% discount going on right now. Discount code is HOLIDAY25 The link to where the books are is: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/bearcreek1035

03-01-2014, 15:47
A southbound CDT hiker who finished last November collected a entirely new track line for me of the CDT alternates. The data was collected in a manner that improved our existing data set. It includes some new water sources, added detail, and some re-positioning of waypoints. I have just processed it all and updated the GPX and POI files. I strongly recommend that you follow the steps below and update the POI file on your GPS.

The biggest changes were to the Silverthorne route in Colorado and the Spotted Bear alternate in Montana, so if you aren't doing either of these routes the existing files should work fine. The Spotted Bear has significant changes on the north end. A new map is here:


The modified gpi file is here:
http://www.bearcreeksurvey.com/Map_Updates/CDT_GPI_Update.zip This includes the entire official CDT plus the Alternates

To update POI's on the unit or a card:
Remove any cards from the GPS. (if you are programming a card instead of the GPS, skip this)
Connect the GPS to a PC.
Using Windows Explorer, or any other file manager, navigate to the drive letter for the GPS.
Open the Garmin Directory.
Open the POI subdirectory and delete the current POI file. It will have a .gpi extension.
Copy the new .gpi file to the POI subdirectory.
Disconnect the cable. The GPS is now ready to use.

09-17-2014, 15:35
There have been requests every year from hikers wanting to purchase Mapbooks in a downloadable format. I have finally had the time to get it done. The CO, WY, and MT/ID Mapbooks are now available in electronic downloadable format. http://www.bearcreeksurvey.com/pdf_maps.htm This should give users lots of flexibility for producing only the maps they need, or to print maps at a larger scale than the printed books. The print versions are also still available.

A similar book for NM will be available once we finish with the changes there.

04-23-2015, 14:58
I have made maps for 18 miles of new trail which is now open in the Burros near Silver City which we surveyed last week after the startup. Also waypoints which are in the form of a zipped GPX file. Here is a link to the data:

http://www.bearcreeksurvey.com/map_updates.htm (http://www.bearcreeksurvey.com/map_updates.htm)

When you get to waypoint 06-260XR, you will begin a detour which brings you to highway 180 north of Silver City. There is built trail continuing further north of 06-260XR, but it abruptly dead dead ends in very rough country so be sure to exit as shown on map #3.

Spirit Walker
04-23-2015, 21:49
How long is the new section? How much water?

04-24-2015, 09:09
The part that will be official trail is 18 miles at the present time. Then it is routed down a small jeep trail for 6 miles to highway 180. There was water every 8-10 miles last week, but one source looked like it was seasonal. When all is finished, the trail will connect to existing trail at the Little Walnut Creek Trailhead a few miles north of Silver City. There are about six miles yet to be built.

12-28-2015, 10:21
The 2016 version of CDT waypoints are now on http://www.bearcreeksurvey.com . The Mapbooks are available either from the Lulu website or Yogi's books. The bound Lulu version is much more expensive than the Yogi's unbound version.

12-29-2015, 12:58
Lulu has a 30% off sale on the 2016 Bearcreek Map books with the discount code of NEWYEAR30 (all capital letters - must be used by 12/31). That's about as good as it gets if you want the bound books. If you don't care about the binding, a complete set of maps can be ordered from Yogi's Books for $95, and that has the Alternates book pages as well. You can also get complete printed sets of the latest Ley Maps from Yogi's. (I don't think the 2016 version of the Ley maps is available yet). As always, the matching waypoint and POI data can be downloaded at no cost from:

Here is a link to where books can be ordered on Lulu:

Here is a link to Yogi's Books: