Find Adventures

When I get the bright idea to go off on another adventure (happens a lot these days, especially since I have a willing partner), and we know the general direction we want to go, say for example, Arizona, I go to the computer and search for Arizona at one or more of the following sites. Before long, I have the outline of a trip to Arizona. There are other sites, of course, but these are the ones I use most often.

AllTrails Just plug in where you want to go and pretty much does the rest. You can get descriptions, mileage, reviews, difficulty, directions, photos and a lot of good stuff, all for free. You can go pro (for a price) and get a bit more, to include PDF Maps. If you want to go on a hike and know generally where you want to go, this site is hard to beat. In fact, it might be the best. (And no, I don't get anykind of kickback for saying that.)

💡 This is my link for all of Oregon. Filters are set for: Easy to Moderate, 0 to 12 miles, 4-star and above, and hiking. You can modify those filters all you want. You don't need to be a member of to view trails, but many things - say maps and other goodies - will not be available. If you hike a lot, I reccommend paying for the pro edition...or use my site...😀

Outdoor Project   

Outdoor Project: Wow! This, I think, is probably better than While AllTrails has about every possible hike in North America, the hikes in Outdoor Project (and there are many of them) are very well presented. This website is clean and easy to use. And it is (as far as I can figure) 100% free. The only drawback with this site is that it doesn't supply geospatial PDFs, at least that I can find. provides them, but they are not free. But in Outdoor Project's hike descriptions they give good turn-by-turn instructions. If you want a geospatial PDF then go to If you aren't looking for a specific hike but just want to find a hike in an area, Outdoor Project is probably for you.

The Outdoor Project Mission Statement: We inspire, motivate, and empower people of all ages and locations to have deeper, richer, and more fulfilling experiences and adventures in the outdoors.

💡 Become a contributor: You can contribute adventures to this website. And there is a Contributor Rewards Program.

💡 Mapping is available through onX Backcountry.

U.S. Forest Service Interactive Map   

When using the U.S. Forest Services Interactive Exploration Site, I have found that using the TH (Trailhead) from the selection window gives best results for finding hikes and, eventually, maps. To find a map for a particular trailhead, the National Geog selection is a good choice (choose it from the gear icon at the top: Base Map/National Geog. Once you have your hike identified, you can create a pdf, download, and print and/or store it on your phone. This site also gives you information on Camping, Biking, Picnicking, and other activities. At first, I thought it was too cumbersome, but after playing with it a bit, it's not bad.

💡 I have discovered that when you search for trails (Hiking) in the US Forest Service websites, that is exactly what you get: all the trails, whether or not they have a designated trailhead. Some trails are connector trails and some are trails that start after hiking on another trail to get to it. They don't have designated trailheads that you can access by car. If you search TH (Trailheads), then you will get actual trailheads that you can drive to. So, selecting the TH in the Forest Service Interactive Map, at least to me, is preferred - I can drive to it. As an example, as I write this, when I use the Forest Services Interactive Exploration Site, choosing Hiking from the Explore menu, I get 12,118 hits in the Pacific Northwest Region. If I choose TH (trailheads) I get 1,439 hits (Trailheads). That is a workable number, especially when you zoom in on the map. So many trailheads, so little time.

U.S. Forest Service   

U.S. Forest Service: Go to the U.S. Forest Service, pick your state and then the National Forest or Grassland you want to visit.

💡 The US Forest Service National Forest and Wilderness websites provide a wealth of information, including hikes, where to park, usage, best season, restrictions, closest towns, fees & passes and Information Center. For example, go to the Deschutes National Forest website. Selecting Hiking and then select Day Hiking. You will be impressed with the number of trails available to you.

The National Park Service   

The National Park Service is the first site I go to when looking for information on hikes, camping, and anything else having to do with adventures in our National Parks. Per their About Page, "The National Park Service, a bureau of the Department of the Interior, is entrusted with administering approximately 84,000,000 acres of land throughout nearly 400 national park units in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam. The mission of the National Park Service is to preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. This is accomplished through a deeply committed workforce of approximately 27,000 employees (both permanent and temporary) and partnerships with nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, and private industries."

Hiking, Backpacking & Adventuring

  • National Park Service: Where Can I Hike? This site has a very nice and intuitive (and responsive) interactive map to help you find hikes in our National Parks. This is definitely must-use if you plan on hiking the National Parks. Per the website: "There are over 21,000 combined miles of trails for you to explore in the National Park Service. Whether you’re looking for rugged slopes or a flat, smooth boardwalk, our guide will help you find a national park trail for you."
  • The National Park Foundation is "The official charitable partner of the National Park Service...As the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service, the National Park Foundation generates private support and builds strategic partnerships to protect and enhance America’s national parks for present and future generations."
  • The 10 Best Hiking Trails Found Inside America's National Parks
  • The Best Hike in Every National Park. Some I have done and some, because of this site, I plan to do. Check out the Greenstone Ridge Trail (Isle Royal National Park). This one is definitely on my bucket list.
  • Tripsavvy search for National Parks. Wow! This search gives you some great information on Until researching for my own website, I had never used Frankly, I like what I see. You might too.


  • Campground: I use this site to find campgrounds for National Parks. For example, go to the site, put 'Yellowstone National Park' into the Where to? and hit enter. There you go, all the campgrounds in Yellowstone. You can find availability for your dates and reserve your campsite online (unless the site is a first-come, first-serve).

Maps, Hiking Books & Travel Guides

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM)   

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is an agency within the United States Department of the Interior responsible for administering public lands. With oversight over 247.3 million acres (1,001,000 km2), it governs one eighth of the country's landmass. There is a world (almost literally) of information on the BLM Site.

BLM-managed lands offer numerous opportunities for hiking ranging from small foot paths through untrammeled wilderness to National Historic Trails with developed trail heads and interpretation centers. No matter what type of experience you are looking for, you can find it on BLM-managed lands. Dogs are welcome on most BLM-managed trails.

The BLM manages land in these states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Eastern States, Idaho, Montana-Dakotas, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon-Washington, Utah, and Wyoming. You can find state-specific information from the main BLM site.

💡 I cannot find a BLM-specific App. However, if you want to know if the land you are traveling to is BLM land, then you can use the Caltopo App or go to the Caltopo website, put in where you are going and select Public Lands from Map Layers. This will also show National Park Service land.

Hiking, Backpacking & Adventuring

  • BLM Search: You can go to this site and search for just about anything you want to do on BLM land to include hiking, biking, camping, fishing and auto touring, and a wole bunch more.
  • Hiking on Public Lands
  • BLM Interactive Recreation Web Map. This interactive web map shows thousands of recreation opportunities, to include hiking and camping, among other things. It could be a good resource to help you find a location to go. I have a fast internet connection and have found that even with that connection, the site is very sluggish. I also wish it had a way to filter for types of adventures, such as hiking, biking, camping, etc. Still, give it a moment and you can get some good information and pointers.
  • Tread Lightly: Promoting responsible recreation through stewardship, education and communication.
  • BLM's Web App Gallery. The BLM's web app gallery is a great source for exploring public land and resource information. Web apps hosted in the gallery represent many BLM programs, including fire, wildlife, and National Conservation Lands. The gallery also includes interactive recreation story maps, which combine photos, videos, and narrative with maps to tell a story.


There are many established campgrounds which may include a variety of facilities, such as restrooms, potable water, electrical hookups, picnic areas, garbage cans, tent pads and group shelters. However, many campgrounds do not have all of these amenities and may only have a picnic table and fire ring. Camping on public lands away from developed recreation facilities is referred to as dispersed camping. Most of the remainder of public lands are open to dispersed camping, as long as it does not conflict with other authorized uses or in areas posted "closed to camping," or in some way adversely affects wildlife species or natural resources. If possible, please use existing dispersed camping sites to avoid creating new disturbances.

Maps, Hiking Books & Travel Guides

You can download georeferenced PDF maps to your phone and use them with the Avenza Maps App. It is free, but you do have to. Go to their maps page for more information about BLM maps.

Just Google It!   

When in doubt, Just Google It!

State Resources

There are hundreds (thousands?) of good resources. Just do a google search for where you want to hike. But for good measure, here are a few of my go-to resources when visiting a state.


Now that I have figured out where I want to go and the trails I am most interested in, say Red Rocks in Sedona, Arizona, I want a few maps. I have discovered that, even on so-called easy trails, there are sometimes intersections that I just don't know which way to go. It happens more often than one would think. I have been called Wrong-way Rod for good reason. It is nice to have a digital map on my phone where I am tracking my location. It is also nice to have a paper map and compass.

So, given all of that Wrong-way Rod stuff, before going on a trip, I always download a map to my phone. If I am going into low-trafficked areas (especially backpacking) I get a paper map. And of course, I always carry a compass.

Here are the map sources I use most often.

Caltopo is my first, and often only, site I go to to find a map for my hikes and backpack trips. If you need a map, go to You can find very good instructions and help at the Caltopo training site .

💡 Note that if you want the specific route you will take, you have to make your own route using Caltopo. But the trails are on the maps, just not pre-routed. For example, go to and search for Boynton Canyon Trail Arizona. Bingo, there is the trail and a bunch of others as well. You can then draw your specific route on the map if you want that added detail. Once you are happy with your map, select the printer tool to save your map as a Geospatial PDF, JPEG file, or you can order a paper map.

US Forest Service Map Finder   

US Forest Service Map Finder. This is a great tool to find both paper and digital maps of all Federal lands. Select your region on the map, zoom in and click.

National Geographic Quad Maps   

Free Printable USGS PDF TOPO Maps. A quick and easy way to download and print any USGS 7.5 minute topographic quad.

Download Instructions:

  • Zoom into your area of interest or use the search box to search by quad name or place name. Red marker icons will appear at the center of each USGS 7.5 minute quad. (Tip: Shift-click and drag a box to quickly zoom in to a local area)
  • Click on the red marker to see the quad name and download the multi-page PDF file.
  • In popular outdoor areas, you'll also see yellow polygons with green outlines, which are the footprints of National Geographic's Trails Illustrated maps. TI maps are based on the USGS quads but are updated and have much more accurate and complete outdoor recreation information, including trails, campgrounds, water sources, points of interest, etc. Every Trails Illustrated map is printed on "Backcountry Tough" waterproof, tear-resistant paper. Click on the TI footprint to go to its product page and order it online or at your favorite outdoor retailer.

Go to the National Geographics Maps & Apps Page to find a recommended Digital Map App.


With AllTrails Pro you can access pre-routed maps and/or create your own map, download it to your phone and print it.

Printed Maps (Green Trails)   

Just like with apps and digital maps, there are plenty of sources: Green Trails, REI, USGS, Trimble MyTopo, to name a few. But if you know where you want to go, then you can use either Caltopo Maps or Alltrails to print your custom map. If you want a bigger, folded map, then you can Just Google It for printed topo maps for where you want to go. Here is an example search for Alpine Lakes in Washington

With that said, here are a few places where you can find printed maps:

A Few Others

Here are a few that get good reviews that I have little to no experience with, but you might want to give them a try:

Google Earth   

I used to have Google Earth in the Assorted Sites & Apps section, but it has become an essential mapping and planning tool when for trips on unfamiliar terrain and cross-country treks. I use it in 3d to zoom in to get a good feel for slope, rock formations, and other trail characteristics. It is also good for helping to find shade, water and even good backcountry camping sites.

Google Earth cannot (as far as I can discover) be reliably used offline. However, the app cache might be available for offline use, as long as the cache is not removed. Bottom line, don't plan on using Google Earth in the field without an internet connection unless you can figure it out. I can't.

Wilderness Areas of the United States   

This is an absolutely awesome site for finding maps of the wilderness areas of the U.S. You can download topo maps and learn all about a particular wilderness area. It is by Wilderness Connect.

Just Google It!   

When in doubt, Just Google It!

Books & Travel Guides

Now that we know where we want to go, we probably want to get some books and travel guides. We especially like our National Geographic Road Atlas to give us a quick view of where we're going and stuff along the way.

Here are some good sources for books and travel guides.

National Geographic Road Atlas: Adventure Edition   

Never leave home without it! This is one of the best guides you can get for adventure traveling across the country. Per the National Geographic website: Setting this atlas apart from all other road atlases are the inclusion of detailed maps and guidebook-like recommendations on the top 100 destinations for adventure, plus the top 24 most visited National Parks. An additional resources section provides contact information for local tourism offices, plus a place name index to help easily locate a specific city.

The Mountaineers   

In addition to finding books and maps, you can sign up for group hikes and other adventures, courses, and many other activities. Check out their Activities Page.

The Lonely Planet Guide Books   

The Lonely Planet has tons of Guide Books for wherever on earth you want to go.

Just Google It!   

Now, why did you expand that? Just to see what I had to say? 😄 Just Google It!

Camping & Accomodations

When we go on a hiking trip of a few days, we prefer to have a base camp. And that base "camp" is typically car camping but sometimes includes hotels if we are not sure about the campsite availability (or really want to take showers and relax after our hike). If you choose to stay in a hotel, my advice is to keep looking and don't settle for the first hotel or necessarily the closest hotel to your hiking area. For example, when we hiked the Red Rock trails around Sedona, AZ, we stayed in Old Town Cottonwood and drove to Sedona each day. Wow! Did we luck out. The traffic in Sedona was ugly-ugly by mid-day, typically when we were finishing our hike and getting out of there. The traffic around the traffic circles was a mess. Old Town Cottonwood was a pure joy. What I am saying here is, look hard, do some research, and know what you are getting yourself into.

But I digress... For camping, I use the following sites the most.   

Campground: I use this site to find campgrounds for National Parks. For example, go to the site, put 'Yellowstone National Park' into the Where to? and hit enter. There you go, all the campgrounds in Yellowstone. You can find availability for your dates and reserve your campsite online (unless the site is a first-come, first-serve).

💡 This site is not just for National Parks. It also includes other national camping locations, such as on BLM land, National Forests and others.

Free Campsites   

Freecampsites is likely the first place I check for campsites. The campsites range from paid, well-maintained sites (some even with toilets and water) to a place to park on BLM land with a campfire ring nearby, which, quite honestly, have been some of the best campsites we have ever had. Check it out. Type in your location, like, "Mount Hood, OR". You will be amazed by the number of campsites.

💡 Sadly, the app is way out of date and will not run on many phones, to include mine. Use the website, which requires an internet connection.

The Dyrt   

The Dyrt is probably the most popular camp finding site and app out there. If it is not #1 I suspect it will be there soon. I have the pro edition. With the pro edition you can download an area to your phone and search for camping areas offline. To me, that alone is worth the price of admission. Check out the benefits of the pro editon here; There are quite a few of them.

Campsite Photos   

Campsite Photos: Search & view photos of each campsite in over 2,500 State Parks, National Parks, U.S. Forest Service, BLM and other campgrounds throughout the USA.

Just Google It!   

Noting to see here, Just Google It!

On the Trail

So far, I have talked about planning. But when the rubber meets the road - the boots hit the trail - what do I use? What is on my phone and what is in my backpack to get me there and back safely? Of course, I need food, water, first aid, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, tell folks where we are going, and stuff that makes the trip enjoyable and safe (See my Lists and Gear page). On this page I am talking about the digital resources and manual (paper and compass come to mind) resources I use:

  • Tracking apps and maps (Digital)
  • Paper maps and compass (Manual)
  • Educational & miscellaneous apps - What is that plant? (Info)

AllTrails Maps & App   

With AllTrails Pro, you can download your map to your phone and track yourself with the AllTrails App, and/or print a map of your planned route. You can also create your own maps, download them and print. Honestly, it is hard to beat Alltrails.

AllTrails Pro has a safety feature: Lifeline. From the AllTrails website:

Lifeline is an AllTrails Pro feature that keeps your friends and loved ones informed while you are out on the trail. With Lifeline, you can select up to 5 safety contacts who will be able to track:

  • Your planned start and finish time + date
  • Your planned starting and ending location
  • Your total tracked distance and elevation gain
  • Your real-time location on a map plotted against your planned route

You can quickly send pre-formatted status updates to your safety contacts with just a tap while you are out on the trail. Most importantly, if you are overdue for your scheduled finish time, Lifeline will automatically send an alert to your safety contacts along with your last known coordinates.

Anyone with an email address or cell phone number can be a safety contact. Safety contacts do not need to download the AllTrails app or have an AllTrails account to view your real-time location.

Caltopo Maps & App   

With Caltopo, you can download your map to your phone and track yourself with the Caltopo App, and/or print a map of your planned route. You can also create your own maps, download them and print. Honestly, it is hard to beat Caltopo.

Does that sound like AllTrails? It should. The advantage of AllTrails is that many, many trails are already routed for you; you don't have to make your own map, especially if the trail is popular. But if you are going backpacking or hiking in a remote area then Caltopo is the place to go.

Which do I prefer? Because I hike on many established trails, I use AllTrails more. But as I say, when I need that extra bit of planning and trail finding, I go to Caltopo.

Avenza Maps & App   

Before Caltopo had an app and before I used the AllTrails app, I always used the Avenza map app to locate and track myself on a Caltopo-created map. I feel some allegiance to Avenza Maps, and they deserve a callout in my website. There are free and pro versions and features are described here. Avenza Maps is a full-featured offline mapping tool worth taking a look at if you are looking for a great mapping tool.

Compass (Just a Compass)   

Be sure to carry a manual compass, not just the one on your phone. And learn how to use it. With that, there are several very good compass apps out there. Just Google It! My favorite Android compass is Just a Compass. It is a very simple compass – I like simple. You can set it for magnetic or true north, and it displays sunrise, sunset and altitude all on the main display. And it’s free with no adds.

Since I am not an iPhone user, I won’t presume to give real advice other than the Commander Compass Go app looks good, has excellent reviews and has an altimeter. I would probably use it if I had an iPhone, but you might want to Just Google It!

Altimeter (Just a Compass)   

I don't often use an altimeter, but sometimes it is good to compare the elevation on the topo map to where I think I actually am. I have found that the altimeter in Just a Compass is good enough for my needs. And for the IOS folks, it looks like Commander Compass Go has an altimeter. I like two-in-one apps.

But if you want a dedicated altimeter app then you can Just Google It! There are lots of good ones out there. Here is a good article from Free apps for me for Altimeter Apps: 7 Best Altimeter Elevation Apps for Android & iOS.

Star Gazing (Star Tracker)   

When backpacking in the mountains, or just lying on the beach in Fiji, on cool clear nights, gazing up at the star-blanketed sky, I often find myself asking, "What star is that?" I use the Star Tracker App to find out.

Plant Identification (PictureThis)   

My kids used to ask me, "Dad, what is that plant?" My answers ranged from "tree" to "flower" to "I don't know." Now, if I have a cell connection, I can answer with my app. If not, I can take a picture of the plant and tell them later...when they are likely no longer interested ☹. I wish I could find an app where I could download a database of plants where I am going to be and didn't have to have cell service. Now that would be cool.

Here are a few to choose from:

Bird Identification (Merlin)   

Bird identification is harder for me than plalnt identification. Here are some of the most popular apps to identify those tweety birds you come across on your next hike (assuming you have cell service):

Assorted Sites & Apps

Following are assorted sites, apps and resources that should be mentioned when talking about adventure sites. Certainly, it is not a complete list - that would take eons to write. These are resources that I have come across that might be of value to you when planning your next adventure. Some are just darned good sites. The list is in no particular order.

National Parks    

Per the Chimani website, the app provides:

  • Curated Content by Local Experts
  • Track All Your Visits and Earn Badges
  • GPS Enabled Maps
  • No Wifi or Data Signal Needed
  • Complete list of all 400+ National Parks, Forests, Wildlife Refuges
  • Detailed Guides for 60+ National Parks

You can subscribe to Chimani Perks for $29.99/yr or $99.99 lifetime.

Hiking Project (trails, maps, more)   

From the Hiking Project About Page:

    Born from the dream to help people get outside, Hiking Project showcases thousands of trails in your own backyard, across the U.S. and around the globe. We're here to help you plan trips & navigate while on the trails.

    The information on Hiking Project is crowd-sourced, contributed by passionate users excited to share their knowledge of local trails with others. Anyone can share their experiences: add your favorite trails and photos, give ratings, post comments, improve existing content and spread the word about recommended routes. Your expertise brings an authentic voice to each trail and route.

    We review every trail, route, photo and symbol that gets submitted. We recognize the importance of displaying only accurate and legal trails which helps to keep folks on track and protect the places we all love to play.

    At Hiking Project, our job and our goal are the same — to curate guidebook-quality information that inspires hikers like you to plan an adventure with confidence using the most accurate data available.

The app includes:

  • Find over 74,000 miles of trail to hike with your crew.
  • New trails are constantly added to our incredibly detailed hiking database.
  • Your exact location is shown on the trail.
  • Downloaded trails work offline for when you’re off the grid. (No cell reception required!)
  • Enjoy high-resolution photos and detailed topographical trail maps.
  • We’ll sync with your to-do list and check ins on

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (trails, nature, education)   

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, while technically not a place to find hikes and adventures, is such a valuable resource for people of all ages to explore our National Wildlife. There is so very much to learn about here, from Climate Change, Endangered Species, Hunting, Fishing, Conservation, and our National Wildlife Refuge System, to name but a few. If you haven't, then you have to put it on your bucket list: Visit a National Wildlife Refuge near me. Go here to find a refuge with trails near you. You won't regret it.

The Outbound (trails)   

The Outbound: Search for where you want to go, adventures, and then filter on hiking. It's free. Per their About Us page: Our Vision: We’re building a modern guide for adventure, for real people.“Traditional” outdoor culture has too often been portrayed as ultra-intense, solitary, and exclusive. Which makes it seem intimidating and out of reach. That’s never felt true to us. That’s why we're committed to building a movement that celebrates a more realistic and casual connection with the outdoors. One that is rooted in community, inclusion, everyday exploration, and inspiration. I donh't think you can have a much better vision.

Less Traveled Northwest (trails)   

This is one of my favorite sites ever. All free, just a couple of folks giving hiking information on 95 hikes in Oregon and Washington that are "out there." If you are looking for a hike that is "less traveled," then this might be the place to look. As of 2017, they have stopped adding new trails, but continue to maintain the site and update existing hikes.

Adventures of A+K   

I like this site...a lot. If I had it to do over again, I might do something like this. Check it out and maybe find your next adventure.

TrailLink (by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy)   

TrailLink is a Rails-to-Trails Conservancy trail finding site.

Rails-to-Trails Mission: "At Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, we are building a nation connected by trails. We reimagine public spaces to create safe ways for everyone to walk, bike and be active outdoors."

Hiking Guy (trails)   

From Hiking Guy: "My goal for this website is to make hiking simple, easy, and safe. Too many people look at the outdoors as a danger zone of killer bears, hypothermia, and blisters."

Well Planned Journey (National Parks)   

From Well Planned Journey: "...a site devoted to once-in-a-lifetime national park trips. Here you’ll find ultra-detailed itineraries, practical gear guides, and travel planning tips."

Wilderness Connect (Wilderness Heritage & Protection)   

From Wilderness Connect: " is a website formed in 1996 through a collaborative partnership between the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation's Wilderness Institute at The University of Montana, the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute. The latter two partners are the wilderness training and research arms of the Federal government, respectively. The program's day-to-day activities are overseen by a working group and steering committee with additional oversight provided by the federal interagency National Wilderness Steering Committee and Wilderness Policy Council. The website educates hundreds of thousands of visitors annually about the benefits of wilderness and stewardship of wilderness under the Wilderness Act."

Best Hiking (Hiking locations, tips, producs, etc.)   

I particularly like the Hiking Tips section. The site is focused on Europe.

Microsoft Start (Air Quality and Weather)   

A good place to see what the air quality is going to be where you are going. I have used this multiple times. Even canceled a couple of trips because of poor air quality. It is accurate.

Wikipedia: Wilderness Areas in the U.S. (Wilderness)   

There are a TON of wilderness areas in the U.S. This is a great place to start to find information on them.

Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers & Wilderness Study Areas (wilderness maps and locations)   

In 1964, Congress enacted the Wilderness Act, landmark legislation that permanently protected some of the most natural and undisturbed places in America. In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, which designated the first eight rivers into the National System and established a process for building a legacy of protected rivers.

The Enterprise Data page provides for download files containing the National Forest System land parcels that have legal descriptions of National Wilderness Area, Primitive Area, or Wilderness Study area, as well as those FS land areas Congressionally designated as National Wilderness Areas, and those areas designated as Wild and Scenic Rivers.

Two Outliers (hiking, adventure)    

Sometimes while researching trails, I come across a site that is, well, awesome. Two Outliers is one of those sites. This couple seems like a younger version of ourselves. If they keep this website going until they reach my age (70ish ☹) then they will have an incredible collection of hiking and adventure trips. I’m impressed. Per there website: We created Two Outliers as a resource for travel addicts, thrill seekers, and anyone else in search of the next adventure. The name is a reference to Sarah’s love of Statistics but more so, our determination to stray from the easy path, to do things that others might think are crazy, and live life outside the norm.

The Enterprise Data page provides for download files containing the National Forest System land parcels that have legal descriptions of National Wilderness Area, Primitive Area, or Wilderness Study area, as well as those FS land areas Congressionally designated as National Wilderness Areas, and those areas designated as Wild and Scenic Rivers.

Resource Summaries

Here are some summaries of my most-used tools and sites. These are not reviews, per se, but simply more information that might help you decide if you want to use it or not. If I got something wrong, or you would like to see a summary, send me an email and I will take a look. I won't guarantee I will put your info in, but I likely will especially if I got something wrong.   

Caltopo is my first, and often only, site I visit to find a map for my hikes and backpack trips. If you need a map, go to All the information you need to make maps, download them, track using their app, and tons more can be found on their very good help page and their Getting Started with CalTopo page.

I have used Caltopo for many years. I have the Pro ($50/yr) subscription and it is so very worth it. In my opinion, Caltopo is one of the best places on the web to create your own map - period. The basic mapping tools are free. You can even download a geospatial pdf to your phone and use an app like Avenza Maps or the Caltopo app to track your progress on the trail.

Here is a very good article from The Outbound about why you should get your printed map from Caltopo.

Caltopo has four plans ranging from free to $100/yr. Check out their pricing page to see what is right for you.

Since I refuse to write reviews because all you have to do is Just Google It! to find all kinds of good reviews saying things like, “Caltopo: A Great Online Mapping and Planning Tool for Hikers,” I do want to say this: I hike and backpack a lot and Caltopo has been the most reliable site for making maps that I have found. I am a loyal customer and will remain that way, even if I do use AllTrails on shorter hikes where the maps are already made for me. Caltopo ROCKS!!!

Download the App   

AllTrails is one of the first sites I visit (along with Caltopo if I need to make my own map) to start planning hikes. If you want a full review of AllTrails, Just Google It!

Alltrails has a free version and a Pro (paid) version.

AllTrails (free)

  • Search for trails using a name, city, or park or simply browse for trails near you
  • Filter trails based on the activity, difficulty level, length, suitability, and other preferences such as the type of attractions you wish to explore
  • Add new trails
  • Access maps online
  • Create custom maps using the website and view them using the app.
  • Track your activity by recording your journeys. You can add details related to your trail conditions, review the route, and add photos
  • Share your experiences with family, friends, and other members you follow via your account

AllTrails Pro ($29/yr)

  • Everything included in the free membership
  • Download maps and access them offline
  • Lifeline feature that helps you keep your close ones updated about your whereabouts for your safety
  • An alert system to notify when you go off-route
  • Ads-free usage
  • Customize maps according to your liking and get them printed
  • Access to real-time map overlays to help you prep better (air quality, weather, light pollution, etc.)

I have a pro membership. As much as I hike, backpack, bike, etc., yep, it is well worth it. I use it to download maps, track my progress, save my treks, get trail reviews, plan trips, get weather forecasts, and much more. With the pro membership, you can download a map and you don't need cell service to see your trail and track your progress (I mention that specifically because I have discovered many people out on the trails don't seem to realize - you do not need cell service to track your progress, just GPS, which comes with every good phone I am aware of).

You will need to sign up for either membership. I occasionally get emails from AllTrails, but not many.

Example of using the AllTrails site: Say my wife and I are planning a hiking trip in the Sedona, AZ area for a week. She prefers easy to medium difficulty hikes. And the older I get, yep, the more I tend to agree with her (makes sense: agree with the wife). Go to

  1. In the search bar, type in Sedona, AZ and hit enter
  2. In the Best trails in Sedona, Arizona page, selectd
    1. Difficulty: Easy and Moderate
    2. Length: 2 to 10 miles
    3. Rating: 4 stars
    4. More Filters: Hiking
  3. Bingo! You have over 125 hikes to choose from.
  4. You can also go to map view and go through the same process of selecting your criteria to see the trails on a map.
  5. 💡 You cannot select your criteria on the Best trails in Sedona, Arizona page and then go to the map view and retain those criteria. I think that is a little ding on Alltrails, frankly.

  6. Here is a map view link for the criteria stated above.

Help and how-to on the Alltrails website is well done and will get you up and running.

Using the App

If you have an internet connection to your phone, then you can do just about anything you can do on the site from the app. My main purpose when using the app is to:

  1. Download maps to my phone
  2. Get directions to trailheads
  3. Track my progress on the trail
  4. Write a quick review and upload pictures when I finish a hike. (Uploading requires a cell connection, but the app will wait until you have that connection to upload).

Typically, while planning a trip like Sedona, using my computer, I will create a favorites list called “Sedona” on the main website. For example, if I want to hike Devils Bridge Trail: (the following requires the pro version)

  1. Select the heart to the right of the picture at the top of the trail description
  2. In the Save to List dialog create a new list (if this is the first trail in the list) or use an existing list. I called my list “Sedona.”
  3. Select the heart in the Sedona row and Devils Bridge Trail will be saved to the Sedona list.
  4. Exit the dialog and go to your Alltrails app on your phone. You might need to give a few moments for the site to sync with your phone. (And you are still at home where you have good internet.)
  5. On the phone, go to Plan/Lists and select Sedona
  6. Devils Bridge Trail should be in the list. You want to download it (description, map and all) to your phone.
  7. Select the download arrow on the bottom right.
  8. I always  select AllTrails, but you can select others such as USGS Topo, Road, Satellite and others, depending on your needs.
  9. Exit the maps screen. You will see the download arrow is now green, indicating the map is downloaded.

On the Trail

Now you are at the trailhead, probably having followed the directions using your phone. Go to the Sedona List and select Devils Bridge Trail. Let’s assume you have no cell service. No worries because you have downloaded the trail to your phone.

  1. Select Navigate
  2. On the Choose your activity screen, select hiking
  3. Select Start on the next screen
  4. You are now tracking.
  5. 💡 You might have to zoom in to get a good view of the trail. Play with it.

    💡 I have discovered that sometimes, when offline, the map doesn’t show up. What? But I downloaded it! Sometimes I have to reload the map a few times to get it to show up. This, in my opinion, is a bug in the app. Play with it.

  6. When you have completed the hike, stop tracking and, if you want to, rate the hike, upload pictures and give a brief review of the hike.

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About Resources

The purpose of this Resources page is to give some info on resources that you might find handy in planning your next adventure and give you links to them. The first block of information is My most-used sites for advenutre planning. I think you could use just these and get 95% of the information you need to plan and do any adventure. The other sections go into specifics like Maps & Apps, Books & Travel Guides, National Parks & Public Lands, and others, and should get you the other 5% of the information you need.

I have compiled a review of my most-used sites and apps, included in 👍 Resource Reviews on on this page. In addition to the reviews, you can expand, +, a site reference to get a little more info on that site. When you expand a site reference, like Recreation.gove (camping) you might see tips, 💡, that I have found useful in using the site. And if you don't care what I have to say, then you can just use the provided links button to go to the resource you are most interested in.

And if you discover something you would like to see on this page or a correction, send me an email and I will take a look - promise.