What hiking topo maps should I buy in order to hike in US (e. g. Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and other national parks)?

Is National Geographics maps the only available up-to-date option? Do they offer full US coverage? USGS seems to be a bit outdated to me, right?

Are there any online/mobile apps options or do I need to buy just the printed one once in US?


1 Answer 1


The United States Geological Survey has free, downloadable and current topo maps. From its site:

"US Topo maps are produced by the USGS National Geospatial Technical Operations Center. The first 3-year production cycle for the conterminous 48 states was completed in September 2012, and the second in September 2015."

A great resource is Andrew Skurka, described as "adventurer, guide, speaker, writer." A visit to his site should have everything you need to know for your upcoming travels, and more.

Happy trails to you.

  • If the OP intends to go hiking in national parks, he may prefer to have a properly printed paper map over a downloaded electronic one. You don't want to be lost in the wilderness if the device you've brought with you to display a softcopy map runs out of battery. Apr 9, 2016 at 19:44
  • Correct, and what Skurka recommends, that hikers carry paper overview and detailed maps, along with digital maps on a GPS unit. And as he points out, 'in the US, the gold standard for topographic maps is the 7.5-minute quadrangles (“quads”) produced by the United States Geological Survey (USGS).'
    – Giorgio
    Apr 9, 2016 at 21:05

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