Online Maps

Printed Maps

It's essential to have a good map with you in the backcountry, so here are some good options for places that offer quality printed wilderness maps.
  • Local Outdoor/Sporting Goods Stores: Generally carry a selection of local recreation maps.

  • MyTopo: Prints custom topographic or aerial photographic maps that you create through their online interface and mails them to you next-day. Choose the location, size, resolution, paper type, and other map attributes like flat or folded. This is a much cheaper option than purchasing individual USGS quads and the maps are extremely high quality.
  • Forest Service Map Finder: Interactive interface helps you find available maps by location. The interface is organized by National Forest, however, so if searching for wilderness areas, you will need to know the encompassing National Forest name.
  • USGS Map Store: Offers standard wilderness-specific maps for many wilderness areas, such as those formerly found on the National Forest Map Store. These are typically great maps, although some are older and may contain dated data.
  • USGS Topographic Quad Maps: Offers standard quad maps for download in GeoTiff or GeoPDF formats.

Maps on Your Smartphone

If you don't have a GPS unit, you can still access wilderness data on many smartphones. Many smartphones also offer GPS capabilities.

Download a Mapping App (select apps listed)

  • onX app: onX Hunt and onX Backcountry offer high quality maps for hunters, hikers, backpackers, and skiers that include public/private land boundaries, hunting districts and other data.
  • Gaia gps: Part of the Outside famliy and offers hiking and skiing maps that you create.
  • Avenza app: Increasingly used by the Forest Service to provide access to PDF travel maps. Search for maps by National Forest name. Free PDF maps and for-pay maps are available through this app.
  • ArcGIS app: Provides access to maps created by ESRI, other companies, and individuals on ArcGIS online. Wilderness Connect's wilderness boundary data is widely-used by GIS professionals, so a search for wilderness will produce national, local and regional maps.
  • Google Maps and Google Earth apps: These often do not mark the actual wilderness boundaries, but a name search will pinpoint one or more locations.

Google Earth

.kmz format files are for use in Google Earth. Since Google Earth can have performance issues with large files (errors have been reported to this effect), a single file containing all wilderness areas is not available. Instead, state-wide Google Earth wilderness files are available for you to download.

GIS and GPS Downloadable Data

GIS/GPS data are available as downloadable wilderness boundary shapefiles or as an ArcGIS Online-hosted feature service. These types of data are intended for public use by those with some level of geographic data expertise.