We share maps of our trips using CalTopo.com. We also use it extensively to prepare data prior to a trip as it has a full set of tools to create, edit, join, split, and simplify tracks and routes. CalTopo also has many power-user features such as fire history, snow sensor overlays and an excellent map-printing tool.

Viewing CalTopo maps works on a smartphone but it is much easier to use all of the functionality if you use a large screen, so we recommend using a desktop computer or laptop.

Here are the most critical things you need to know to successfully view our maps and copy our data. The numbered list refers to the numbers in the image.

  1. Configure the information you see. By default CalTopo shows the labels of markers and lines. Since our maps frequently have many markers, the labels often obscure the view. Under Settings, set Display -> Show Labels to None. The other settings are less critical but you can tune them to your liking. Once changed, your settings are stored as cookies so your view of any CalTopo map will reflect your most recent setting.
  2. The map type currently displayed is shown in the upper right corner. To change this, place your cursor on the bubble with name of the currently displayed map type. The map types we use most frequently are MapBuilder Topo, Scanned Topo (within USA), TF Outdoors, and Global Imagery. Note that if you pay an annual subscription fee you also get access to Google Maps and Google Street View.
  3. Folders of data are listed on the left. Toggle the check boxes to show and hide data.
  4. View a profile of a line by clicking the graph icon next to the line. The profile will appear at the bottom of the page. You can get more details by clicking the word expand in the upper right of the profile. Alternatively, you can get to the same information by left clicking on a line and then clicking Terrain Stats or Profile.
  5. Export data in a variety of formats. To get our data so you can make your own CalTopo map, use Download GeoJSON File, and then import that file into your own CalTopo map. If you want to import our data into Gaia GPS iPhone app, export it in gpx format.
  6. Documentation is available by clicking on Help.