According to The National Park Service (NPS), there are more than 300 million people visiting national parks, forests, and wilderness areas every year. Spoiler alert, cell signals don’t extend to all these areas and maps may be the only reference you’ll have in an emergency.
If there’s flooding near you, you’ll need to know how to get to the closest high elevation. If an injury happens, you’ll need to get to the nearest high traffic area for help. If a bear cuts off your path, you’ll need to find an alternate….fast. A paper map may actually save your life.
National Geographic is allowing everyone to easily download any USGS 7.5 minute topo map in the continental U.S. as a multi-page PDF that can be printed on letter size paper on any printer. These are the same topographic maps that were published by the U.S. Geological Survey for decades, with nice additional features from their much-loved, but discontinued TOPO! software product, including:
Page 1 is an index map showing each of the printable quarter-quad maps in their broader context
Pages 2-5 are the topo quarter-quads, sized and scaled to print on US-letter size paper
Hillshading has been added to help visualize the topography.
NOTE: Since the USGS stopped updating their printed topos decades ago, some of these maps do not accurately reflect the current landscape. For the most detailed and up-to-date maps of popular outdoors recreation areas, we recommend their Trails Illustrated maps.
Trails Illustrated maps are the most trusted and popular recreation maps available. Continually setting the standard for accuracy, each map is crafted in conjunction with local land managers and undergoes rigorous review and enhancement before being printed on waterproof, tear-resistant material.
Adventure Maps are the most authoritative maps for touring international destinations. Each waterproof and tear-resistant map provides travelers with the perfect combination of detail and perspective, highlighting points of interest for those venturing outside city centers. From the plains of France to the top of Mt. Everest these maps cover the hottest adventure destinations.
National Geographic wall maps offer special glimpses into current and historical events, and inform map readers about our world and our environment. Offered in a variety of styles and formats, our maps of the world, continents, countries, regions, history, nature, and space are all excellent reference tools that make a perfect addition to any home, office, or school.