The Latest and Greatest

This website was designed with the backpacker in mind. I'm slowly putting together free, online resources for northwest wilderness areas which include trails, points of interest, elevation profiles, topo overlays, and photographs. The intent is that you can plan your backpacking trip beforehand or explore new areas for future expeditions. If you want to see a feature added or have GPS tracks for trails that are more accurate than what I've got, email me.

I've finally finished all wilderness areas for Idaho, Oregon, and Washington! My next project will probably be California and Wyoming, but seeing as we are getting into backpacking season this probably won't happen unit this winter. If you do have a specific wilderness area you'd like to see on my site, let me know and I can try to post it in the meantime.

Wilderness Areas

Below is a map of the areas covered (mostly wilderness and national parks). Click on one of the outlines for the area's name and a link to a more detailed map. If you know the name but not the location of an area, use the menu system at the top of this page for a categorized/sorted list with links to more detailed maps. I've disabled some the feature buttons on the left of the map, this map is only intended to give an overview of areas covered. The section below this map has a brief tutorial on how to use the various features of map interface.

Map Tutorial

The following is a brief summary of how to use the maps of the northwest wilderness areas. The maps are designed to be intuitive, but some of the features should probably be explained. The idea behind the maps interface is to allow you to explore the various wilderness areas, their trails, points of interest, pictures and to generate elevation graphs. I personally use the maps to explore new areas and then plan my trips. So let's get started!

First, click here to open a map. You can use the menu system above to open another wilderness area, but you won't be able to follow my examples below as easily. Once the map loads, you should see a page titled "Mt Jefferson Wilderness" with blue and orange lines. The orange outline is the wilderness boundary and the blue lines are hiking trails.

Now I'm going to have you zoom in on the large lake near the center of the map. Try holding down the shift key and draging the mouse while holding the left button down. This should create a zoom box. When you release the left mouse button, the map will zoom into the area you selected with the box. You can also double left click or use the map control buttons on the left, but they are generally slower than the shift/drag method. Play around with the different zoom methods on the map. When you are done playing, press the F5 key or browser reload button to reset you back to the original map scale.

Zoom back into the large lake near the center of the wilderness area, you should see something similar to the first map below (click the example image below to enlarge). This is Marion lake of the Mt Jefferson wilderness area. Try clicking some of the buttons on the left center, they will hide/show other data on the map area you have selected. This is probably a good time to mention that buttons which are red require an account, so you probably won't be able to use those. The "Pictures" button shows Panoramio pictures people have taken and the "POI - All" button shows other possible points of interest like cemeteries, cliffs, falls, and rapids. Below is an example of what you might see. You can also click on each of the points of interest and/or pictures to get more information or a larger picture.

Now try clicking on the buttons in the top right corner of the map. These are map types. They allow you to switch between map types like ArcGIS (scanned topos), Earth (3d view, only on supported browsers), Map (google earth topo), MyTopo (another scanned topo), and Satellite (photo images). Often the scanned topo types will have locations no longer show on maps, like cave locations, old mines, quaries, or ruins. If you have an area you want to explore, it's a good idea to try viewing it in ArcGIS or MyTopo mode in case there are other fun spots in the area.

Next we are going to play around with markers, directions, and elevation graphs. On all maps, if you left click on an area of the map this will drop a red marker. Try left clicking on the map to set a marker. Now left click on the marker you just dropped. It should open a dialog ballon asking you for a start address. By default it populates Salem, OR because that is where I generally want directions from. Enter your own address and click the "Get Directions" button. You should see a seperate page pop up with driving dirctions and an estimated time to the marker. This is nice for getting directions and times to trailheads or other areas of interest.

Once you've played around with getting directions, left click on the map again to drop another marker. If you are running Chrome, Firefox, or IE 9, you'll notice an elevation graph appears at the bottom of the page. Try setting markers on one of the trails, roughly following it's path. This should set a trail of markers and graph the distance and elevation (see example image below). If you make a mistake you can either double left click on a marker to delete it, or left click on the marker and drag to move it. If you want to start over, press the "Clear" button at the bottom left hand corner of the map to clear all markers.

The idea here is that you can find out the distance and elevation gain/loss to various areas on the map. This can be very usefull for planning hiking and backpacking trips. Now try moving your mouse cursor along the graph. You should see a little hiker icon follow the path on the map as your cursor moves along the graph. Distance and elevation stats for the point you are currently at appear at the top right of the graph. You can also left click/drag along the elevation graph to zoom in on a particular area of your path. Double left click on the graph to go back to the zoomed out view. Well, that's it for now. Below is a map control summary, happy hiking!

Map Control Summary:
  • RED BUTTONS require an account to access
  • Directions
                 -Left click on a marker to get directions it from a location
  • Elevation Graph
                 -Once two or more markers are placed, an elevation plot will be displayed for the marker path
                 -Run cursor over the graph to get the distance/elevation for that point (hiker icon will display on map)
                 -Left click and drag on graph to zoom in on specific area
                 -Double left click on graph to zoom back out
                 -Press the "Clear" button to clear graph and all markers
                 -Press the "Slope/Elevation" buttons to toggle display between slope/elevation graphs for marker path
  • Maps
                 -Click on the buttons in the top right corner to dispaly various graph types (topo, satellite, etc)
  • Markers
                 -Left click to set marker
                 -Left click and drag on a marker to move it
                 -Double left click on marker to delete it
                 -Placing more than one marker will generate an elevation profile between markers
                 -Left click on marker and fill in your start address to get directions to the marker location
  • Moving
                 -Hold the left key and drag the direction you want the map to move
  • Pictures
                 -Click the "Pictures" button to toggle Panoramio picture data on map
                 -Click on Picture icon to get a larger view
  • POI Buttons
                 -If the POI button is read, you need an account to access this information
                 -Click on the various POI buttons to display points of interest (falls, cliffs, cemeteries, caves, etc)
                 -Click on POI icon to get more details
  • Trails
                 -Click the "Trails" button to toggle trails on/off on the map (blue lines)
                 -The orange area is the wilderness boundary
  • Trails Info
                 -Click the "Trails Info" button to make trails clickable. Clicking the blue trail now gives you more info
  • Zooming
                 -Hold shift key and drag mouse with left button zoom, this can do multiple zoom levels at once
                 -Use the scroll wheel to zoon in/out
                 -Double left click on an area to go to the next zoom level, center on where you double clicked
  • Updates

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