With more backcountry terrain becoming accessible in Washington on a daily basis now, you’ll want to check out the latest version of USGS’ free US Topo maps for WA. The update includes segments of the Pacific Crest and Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trails along with other improved layers. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail passes through the recently opened Chinook Pass and North Cascades Highway. In total, that trail covers a distance of 2,650 miles from California at the Mexico border, through Oregon and Washington, all the way up to the Canadian border. The PCT is one of the original National Scenic Trails established by Congress in the 1968 National Trails System Act and 54% of the trail lies within designated wilderness. Every year, the Snow Troopers see scores of hikers going through Snoqualmie Pass (a popular rest stop) as they attempt to complete the entire stretch of the PCT. The Pacific Northwest Trail begins near the Continental Divide in Glacier National Park and travels more than 1,200 miles through Montana, Idaho, and Washington, including some of the most beautiful stretches of the North Cascades National Park complex, before reaching its western terminus at the Pacific Ocean near Cape Alava.
These new maps replace the first edition US Topo maps for Washington and are available for free download from The National Map and the USGS Map Locator & Downloader website. As with all US Topo map updates, the replaced maps will be added to the USGS Historical Topographic Map Collection and are also available for download. Before heading out into the backcountry, remember to always pack a map and other “Essentials”. Live to ski another day!