With various online services and brick and mortar retailers willing to sell us maps for a price, it’s nice to come across a website that offers a treasure trove of maps for free. At a site simply called “National Park Maps,” a retired park ranger has apparently gone rogue and is offering a staggering amount of maps at absolutely no cost. As of this writing, 1474 U.S. National Park Maps, covering 43 states, are available to download and print, making this a fantastic resource for outdoor enthusiasts.
This isn’t some casual data dump on a web domain that someone whispers about conspiratorially around a campfire at basecamp. This is both the goose and the gander: a well laid-out site that is easy to traverse, offering in some cases, multiple maps for each park. As a constant, you’ll always find the official trail map for any given destination. But those options are often supported by seasonal trail maps, campground maps, fishing maps, and “best route” maps, with additional options appearing from time to time as well. Hell, a quick click on the Denali National Park link alone reveals a minimum of 13 maps available for download – at least for now.
Last month alone, our friendly ranger uploaded more than 200 new maps. This lone ranger is definitely on a roll and the whole operation seems more organized and less underground than I would suspect something of this nature to be. It all seems like a beautiful jab in our current political climate – and I like it. Furthermore, this isn’t a collection of crusty, low-res screen shots either. This is high-level, high-quality stuff, here people. These are official maps that you can rely on, plus a whole lot more.
In short, boys and girls – this is a dirtbag’s dream come true. It’s a little edgy and a little too easy, but it is making me want to head out and buy a ream of paper and extra ink cartridges for my printer. For those of us happily infected by wanderlust, NPMaps.com is as close as we’re going to get to what the Buddhist’s call “enlightenment.” And yes, it works great on your smart phone too.
Get planning and get printing.