Finding Hiking trails are the most important part for the hikers, especially for the first-time hiking in certain areas. As there are tons of hiking places around the world or in the USA people are more like to go to new places each time. And to go for a new place you need to find the hiking trail properly, otherwise, you could lose your track can also be lost.
Even if you are not in serious trouble, losing track of places will kill your time and thus mood. And losing pleasure and joy on a hiking trip is a big problem for enthusiasts. So, you should learn to find trails using map, compasses or using other navigation methods.
See More: Best Hiking Places in Europe
Finding Your Way Using the Map
A map is an aerial view of the landscape. It not only tells you where you are but also tells you what kind of terrain lies ahead.
Using maps and a compass correctly will tell you what to expect on the other side of the next mountain, as well as just around the next corner.
Learning to Read Maps
A wide variety of maps is available to the hiker, from hand-drawn squiggles presented by fellow hikers to detailed contour maps. The wilder and more rugged the trek, the more detailed your maps need to be.
Maps suitable for hiking use a much larger scale than road maps, to show sufficient detail.
Using Contour Maps to Find Hiking Trails
The most common maps used by hikers are contour maps (also known as topographic maps), which use a series of lines joining places of equal height to indicate the contours of the land.
Walking on the trails using these maps are easier. You just need to understand few tips.
- Long contour lines indicate a ridge. When they converge in a series of U-shapes, one within the next, the ridge is ending in an incline.
- Contour lines close together to show a steep incline, which may be difficult to hike.
- Long, flat lines that are close together indicate a wall-like incline with few, if any, breaks that can be climbed. The trail is likely to traverse here.
- A figure-eight shape indicates a saddle between two peaks.
- A series of circles shows a summit, knob, or protrusion; the dense lines on one side of it show a steep incline on that side.
- A lake surrounded by close lines is an unlikely campsite because the sides are too steep.
Features on a Contour Map
Many topographical features you see on a contour map are easy to recognize-hills, valleys, saddles, and ridges all have characteristic contour patterns.
Interpreting a map correctly is the key to finding a safe route.
How to Read the Map for Finding Ways
A contour map shows information on the ground such as peaks and valleys, as well as rivers, lakes, roads, trails, buildings, and power lines.
A key of symbols will tell you how to interpret the signs for natural and artificial features. Reading a contour map is just like reading any other map. The only difference is the use of contour lines to show the elevation of the land.
Choosing a Proper Scale
Look for maps that have a scale of from 1:25,000 (27, inches on the map equals 1 mile on the ground, or 4 cm on the map equals 1 km on the ground) to 1:50,000.
The bigger the second number, the more area the map will cover, but the less detail it will show.
Using Map Software to Find Trail is Easier
With the introduce of super modern technologies, backpacking and hiking tactics has changed a lot. You now have new gadgets, hiking software and many more.
Computerized maps for many hiking areas are available through the internet or on CD-Roms. Electronic maps frequently offer much more information than paper maps.
They even allow you to compare several different routes, adding up total elevation gains and distance from the campsite to campsite. When available, these programs can be an enormous help when you are planning longer hikes.
Map Essentials to Know for Measuring Distance
Here are some essentials and features to accurately using the map during your hiking session.
Being able to look at a map and accurately gauge the distance from one point to another is an essential skill. There are two ways you can do this:
Use a Map Wheel
this is a tiny wheel that you trace precisely along the route you plan to take. The wheel measures the distance on the map, which can then be scaled up to an on-the-ground distance.
- Normally Distance in miles is shown in the window. You just need to give it some time and you will start to understand it pretty easily.
- Hold the device like a pen and roll the wheel along the route on the map. And you will be able to hold it and point it properly.
Estimate Distance of Your Trail
Estimating distances for Finding Hiking Trails is a very important part of your hiking session. First, split the route into sections by marking the map with a pencil each time the route turns.
Then measure each section with a ruler, add the figures up, then convert to miles. It will help you to measure the distance properly without any problems.
Calculating Total Distance for Finding Hiking Trails
The total distance that you calculate will probably be less than the actual distance. This is because neither method above can account for the extra distance caused by climbing and descending.
The more detailed the map, the more accurate your estimate will be. For example, switchbacks are often drawn inaccurately but add great distance. If your trail is shown as a squiggly line crossing steep contours, add 30 percent to your estimate.