Choosing the Right Map for Your Hike

One would think that something as simple as maps would be self explanatory. Just grab one depicting the area you’re in and go, right? It would seems so… until you see how many options you have! By choosing the correct map for your particular hike, you will be able to maximize the utility of your map and get the proper amount of information from it.

Blood Mountain Day Hike Map

This is a inexpensive little map we had made up of the Blood Mountain Day Hike. It is one of the more famous day hikes in Georgia and we decided it would be nice to have a map that depicted the Blood Mountain area for day hikers who only needed a small amount of information for a hike they may only do once. Drop into the shop before your hike to pick up one of these guys or order off the website in advance.


This topographic map of Blood Mountain offers information on several different trails up the Mountain as well as tips for this particular hike.

North Georgia Area Day Hiking Map

Some folks are looking to do a lot of consecutive day hikes in the area or are local enough that they want a map that will cover a greater range of land for future return trips. National Geographic makes some excellent maps with a bit more detail that depict most well marked trails in the North Georgia area. Everything from large trails like the Appalachian Trail, the Benton MacKaye Trail and the Pinhoti Trail are marked along with many smaller spur trails. For the entirety of North Georgia, you can purchase the National Geographic Chattahoochee Map Pack.


A very detailed map of the entire North Georgia area.

Section Hiking Map

Anti Gravity Gear makes very light weight Strip Maps that give you all the information you need for a longer Section Hike on the AT without having to carry the weight of a full data book. These waterproof strip maps give you the milage at major points along the trail, the location of water resources and shelters, as well as major road crossings and an elevation profile. They are sold by state so you can pick up which ever section you are looking to hike.  There is also a set of more detailed maps made by the ATC that are excellent for both section hiking and can be used for thru hiking.


Lightweight, waterproof maps that give you just enough information for a long haul hike.

Thru Hiking Map

The most popular map used by thru hikers along the AT is AWOL’s Guide. This book is used mostly by thru hikers because it offers step by step milage points that include water resources, shelters, views, road crossings and much more. An elevation profile integrated into the data points makes it easy to collect all your needed information from one page. Each town along the AT is mapped out in detail with all the needs of hikers carefully noted and written out along side the town map. Many hikers use the guide book to take notes as they hike and often only carry one half at a time, sending the second half ahead to a point further down the trail. The second most popular maps for thru hikers are the ATC Maps. Hikers must purchase the set of maps before hand and send them ahead to set points. These maps also do not have town maps, though a data book is available to accompany the maps.


AWOL is a former thru hiker whose Guide book has become the most popular and all inclusive guidebook on the trail.


Along with the ATC Databook, the ATC Maps couple up to be a comprehensive, though heavier alternative to AWOL’s Guide.


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