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Old 11-26-2020, 05:59 PM   #1
Bagadeez04
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Best Maps

I have had the Adirondack Nat Geo maps for about 12 years, since I really started getting into backpacking. Its really all I've ever known as far as maps go.

Occasionally when in high use areas like the High Peaks, I will meet people who have other maps that are perhaps less colorful and illustrated, yet seem more detailed and suited for the more experienced hiker.

My question is... what are the best maps out there in the opinion of the many experienced hikers on this forum? Are there those that are more suited for the novice versus the more experienced backpacker?

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Old 11-27-2020, 01:57 AM   #2
debmonster
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ADK High Peaks Map

The ADK High Peaks map has excellent details, especially for backpacking since it shows the designated backcountry and roadside primitive campsites. You can order it online or buy from stores such as The Mountaineer. See https://www.adk.org/product-category...g-guides-maps/

ADK used to publish maps for each Adirondack region, but now the other guide books come with a Nat Geo map. You can still get the High Peaks guidebook & map set, or buy them separately.
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Old 11-27-2020, 02:41 PM   #3
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I'll second the "High Peaks Adirondack Trail Map" suggested above. Got mine in the mail last week and it's extremely detailed. Here is a photo I just took that will give you an idea of what it looks like. This map is advertised as being waterproof and tear-resistant, though I haven't tested that out yet.

The boundaries of the map are roughly North Hudson to the southeast, Long Lake to the southwest, Lake Clear to the northwest, and Jay to the northeast with the Indian Falls Pond and Taylor Pond areas (to the north) in the coverage area as well. Outside of the High Peaks area, I'll probably just continue using CalTopo printouts and offline phone maps for now.
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Old 11-27-2020, 03:55 PM   #4
Bagadeez04
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Nice I will definitely get this. Wish there were others for other parts of the park.

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Old 11-27-2020, 04:46 PM   #5
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Nice I will definitely get this. Wish there were others for other parts of the park.
They discontinued most of the ADK paper maps (minus the cherished High Peaks region) but you may still find a few paper maps in the back of some the older ADK guidebooks. Nowadays I usually just print out my own topo maps from Caltopo or Mytopo, then I like to draw in my own magnetic north lines to help with off-trail/compass navigation, then I wrap the map in clear packaging tape to help keep it moisture resistant.
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Old 11-29-2020, 12:57 PM   #6
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The other ADK maps for the rest of the Adirondacks (that pre-dated the Nat Geo Maps) were nice but not anywhere near the same level of detailed info as the modern iterations of the ADK's High Peaks map. Most noticeably, the old ADK maps for other regions of the park don't include designated tent site locations, which IMO is the biggest benefit to the ADK's High Peaks map.
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Old 11-30-2020, 03:08 PM   #7
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So +2 on the High Peaks Adirondack Trail Map.

We both use it and have given it to friends and family when they ask "what do I need before I hit the backcountry"

On trail, it lives in the bottom of the pack though. We love using prints from CalTopo, carried in zip lock baggies. We use them for trip planning including trail profile (elevation) distances and can put waypoints on the paper map prior to printing. We also highlight any "Plan B" route changes or even an alternate trail (we drive a 6 hours to get to trailhead and if it is packed will choose a lesser travelled trail).

We also leave a paper copy in the fridge so if we miss a check-in people know where we intended to be. Hmm, as I write this I think I will email the PDF to wife instead of using the fridge. She could then look at it AND forward it.
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Old 11-30-2020, 10:51 PM   #8
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So +2 on the High Peaks Adirondack Trail Map.

We both use it and have given it to friends and family when they ask "what do I need before I hit the backcountry"

On trail, it lives in the bottom of the pack though. We love using prints from CalTopo, carried in zip lock baggies. We use them for trip planning including trail profile (elevation) distances and can put waypoints on the paper map prior to printing. We also highlight any "Plan B" route changes or even an alternate trail (we drive a 6 hours to get to trailhead and if it is packed will choose a lesser travelled trail).

We also leave a paper copy in the fridge so if we miss a check-in people know where we intended to be. Hmm, as I write this I think I will email the PDF to wife instead of using the fridge. She could then look at it AND forward it.
This is exactly what I do too. I typically purchase a good map or guidebook for an area that I am visiting and I use CalTop for detailed planning. For CalTopo, I really like looking at a variety of maps with the MapBuilder Overlay that brings in OpenStreetMap data as a layer on top of whatever basemap you are using. However, it is only as good as the quality of the OSM layer, so the quality varies widely. I typically make a CalTopo map for each trip and share it with my wife and bring both a paper copy and a copy on my phone (with the CalTopo App).

For bushwhacks, I find CalTopo indispensable. Satellite layers help identify openings for views, avoid wetlands, and I have a kml file from the DEC that shows the public property bounds so that I can stay off private land. I still have my map, compass, and GPS, but I find I am using my compass much less these days.
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Old 12-08-2020, 05:31 PM   #9
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These maps are also periodically updated, and it's worthwhile on getting the current ones. The ADK used to sell a packet which included all 5 of the maps within the Blue Line, but I haven't been able to find it. I checked the HPIC, the Mountaineer, and the Lake George ADK office is closed. This set is not listed on the mail order list. You can get them all individually at the Mountaineer but you give up the members' discount, and the package price. (I already have two copies of each one, but just wanted to get the latest versions which, for some at least, is 2020).

Update: I found the pack of 5 at the Bookstore Plus in LP.

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Old 12-08-2020, 06:36 PM   #10
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These maps are also periodically updated, and it's worthwhile on getting the current ones.
One of the first things I noticed on the ADK map that I ordered last month was that the boundary between the Central High Peaks Zone and Outer High Peaks Zone (that will have updated regulations) was outlined for anyone that plans to hike, ski, snowshoe, or camp in that area.
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Old 01-21-2021, 05:09 PM   #11
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NatGeo maps are horrible, I've notice major error in them multiple times (including in CO where it showed a trail coming off of a mountain where there was absolutely no trail to be found whatsoever.) Don't trust em. I tend to make my own with Caltopo, that way you can make a little print out that's easier to pocket than a large glossy map.
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Old 01-26-2021, 12:38 PM   #12
MTVhike
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The ADK has announced a 15th edition of the High Peaks Guide (not available yet at the Mountaineer); is the ADK map also being updated?
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Old 02-02-2021, 11:12 AM   #13
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MTV Hike: The map and guidebook are not updated at exactly the same time, and the map tends to be updated more frequently than the guidebook. The latest update of the High Peaks map will be out late next month. Updates include the now well-established herd path on the north side of the North Fork of the Boquet plus the herd path that ascends Grace to the right of the old slide. Also added is the new Casey Brook Lean-to on the Elk Lake-Marcy Trail. A few campsites have been added at Marcy Dam, and one on Livingston Point while one above Avalanche Camp has been deleted. The current printing shows the "Marcy Dam bypass" trail that has become the high water route for the Van Hoevenberg Trail. The new printing will just add that it is now marked with red markers.

There will also be more benchmark data, and more roads accessing trailheads will gain some red dashes o make them more visible.

The 15th Edition of "High Peaks Trails" is at the printers and will be available later this spring.
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Old 02-02-2021, 06:02 PM   #14
MTVhike
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Thanks, T.; last summer we went up the N.F. of the Boquet (noticing that there's a register now there), and came back using the North side HP, and there was another register there also!
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