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Old 8 Feb 2011
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Which maps to use touring the USA?

I am looking for advice on which maps to use for touring in the USA. I have a map of the North American continent but which are the best state maps? preferably ones which will show older roads and perhaps trails. Are there maps which cover several states or do I have buy individual states?
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Old 8 Feb 2011
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For the US, I would get one single sheet US map (front/back = East/West) for general planing and use GPS for actual navigation. But, that's just me...

You can get paper maps (State, County) down to dirt trail levels, if that's what you want.

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Old 8 Feb 2011
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I'm not sure if you have been in the States before, so don't be offended if I say things that seem elementary.

The USA is a huge country, compared to countries in Europe. Traveling through New England from state to state you might get away with using a map that shows several states, but once you get out West the distances are large and you won't get much detail on roads with a multistate map.

I've never seen the need to stock up on maps here when I travel. Stop at a gas station just before you enter a new state and buy a map for $5.00. Most of them will have the major Federal, state, and county roads shown. Or find a Tourist information center- they often have the same quality maps for free.

If you want the level of detail down to local dirt roads, farm roads and forest roads you will probably have to buy a state atlas. These typically are large (~15" x 10") but thin, paper bound volumes. They cost about $20 at any major bookstore. Obviously, you wouldn't want to cart a set of 48 of these around on a bike.

Personally, I'd go with the gas station maps and occasionally buy an atlas in a few states as I went through. I'd probably tear out the pages I wanted from the atlas and toss the rest.

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Old 8 Feb 2011
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Plus: for more detail than the state atlases (Delorme Mapping produces one series; Benchmark Maps another), there are commercial and government topographic maps (the latter are the most detailed; look for USGS "quad" maps) for almost anywhere you'd be likely to want one. You buy these things by mail order or in large outdoor recreation stores like REI, EMS and others. Google is your friend.

I have a full filing cabinet of North American maps. You really need to narrow your priorities before going off in search of maps which will show "older roads and perhaps trails."

Hope that helps.

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Old 8 Feb 2011
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Most states have travel and tourism sites where you can get brochures and maps for free.
See the link below.

Travel and Tourism Sites for U.S. States and Territories: USA.gov
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Old 9 Feb 2011
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Hey Mark,
i dont know if you use an garmin gps. but if - they have a topo us maps.
These a normally show every single trail and way.
But there are a lot of topographic maps about the us.
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Old 10 Feb 2011
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In addition to what everyone else said, I always find it handy on long distance trips to have one map or atlas covering the entire US so that you can get the "big picture" and figure out what bits of what states you should be going to. Then state maps for more detailed planning...
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Old 10 Feb 2011
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Don't laugh but I brought this USA and Canada Harley-Davidson Ride Road Atlas the other day for planning but i'll take it with me and do as the guys have said and buy more detailed paper maps for the trails when needed and use my new GPS, that's if I suss out how to use it!

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Old 10 Feb 2011
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Originally Posted by mcgiggle View Post
Don't laugh but I brought this USA and Canada Harley-Davidson Ride Road Atlas the other day for planning...
I actually used this as well for a couple of cross country trips. It is pretty good but I didn't recommend it in my post because at least the one that I had was more bulky than I would have liked. If you have the space though, it is pretty good.
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