What trails listed require purchasing topo maps
Through your help on this forum I narrowed down on trail selection for my day hikes during our first vacation in Alaska in June 2008.
I read a lot of discussions on necessity to have maps with you in case of bad trail markings or bad weather visibility. Are any of the trails listed below fall in that category and what scale map would I need to purchase? It looks like Kesugi Ridge may be the only trail listed here that requires map. Is it true? Can I trace/copy Kesugi Ridge trail from the ranger's station or I need to purchase a better map? Here is the list of trails:
Hike 1: Eagle/Symphony Lakes Trail
Hike 2: Crow Pass to Raven Glacier and back
Hike 3: Harding Icefield (From Exit Glacier area)
Hike 4: McHugh and Rabbit Lakes
Hike 5: Reed Lakes Trail
Hike 6: Lazy Mountain
Hike 7: Kesugi Ridge Trail – 17.2 mi (Little Coal Creek to Ermine Hill)
Hike 8: Worthington Glacier Ridge Trail
Free topo maps are available online for anyplace in the U.S., centered where you want them, in the scale you want, at Topozone.com. This is a partnership between USGS and the site operator. The database is the same one used to produce the USGS topo maps that you would buy elsewhere. You do NOT need to pay for any subscription service to access and print the maps you want there.
USGS topo maps are often a poor source for locating trails. There was never much emphasis on mapping trails, and the maps available for AK are frequently old. You should always check for alternative sources for trail maps and descriptions to supplement the USGS maps. Check the websites for agencies that administer the locations you've listed. Locations 2 and 4 on your list are on the Chugach State Park map that I recommended earlier.
A book to consider
I have been using a book called "hiking alaska" by falcon guide It lists most of the trails you listed its fairly informative and has many features I would check the store on this site and if not there go to www.falcon.com
Originally Posted by yk387
I bought several books including "Hiking Alaska" as you mentioned and "50 Hikes in Southcentral Alaska" The books are excellent and they do have a detailed trail description and some mapping. I was asking if I need an additional topo map of some trails or I can rely just on what books describe how the trail follows the terrain. I have read that Alaska's trail system is less marked compared to hiking in Grand Tetons or Montana's Glacier NP.
They have lots of good trail information with maps, trail descriptions and notes, photos, and more.
Another site for trail information is: www.aktrailhead.com
As far as needing maps, it depends on how prone you are to getting turned around or off trail. Not meant as an insult, but some folks will be in more need of a map than others.
The well traveled trails really shouldn't require a map, the Eagle/Symphony lakes trails would be almost impossible to get off route as it is well traveled and there are very few trees, also no well traveled off shoot trails.
I look at maps as something best to have and not need, then to need and not have
I think I've hiked all those places and I think the only place you might need a map for is the Kesugi ridge trail Most of all the others have a pretty good path on them. I don't remember in June when you are going but there can be lots of snow up there late, so if a trail existed, you might not be able to see it. The map would help in that situation, I would think.