Mount Hood and the Columbia River Gorge were in fine company earlier this year when the National Geographic Society released a pair of new maps in their Trails Illustrated series covering both areas. This map series is generally limited to national parks, so the few outstanding areas outside the National Park System (NPS) included in the set read like a who’s who of places that should be made into national parks or recreation areas.
For locals already familiar with these areas, the new maps feature surprisingly accurate, up-to-date information on trails, campgrounds, forest roads and — most impressively — the many new and expanded wilderness areas that were legislated this year with the new Mount Hood wilderness bill. This information, alone, makes them a worthy addition to your map collection.
As with any National Geographic map, the cartography is lush, and containes a wealth of details. One example are Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Oregon State Forest (OSF) lands that are helpfully mapped where they abut national forest boundaries. But most importantly, the new maps show numbered forest trails on a backdrop of contour lines an relief shading, making for an excellent trip planning tool or handy map for the field.
The Mount Hood map (No. 820) extends from Lost Lake south to the edge of the Mount Jefferson Wilderness, and from Table Rock on the west to the Warm Springs reservation on the east. New, expanded boundaries for the Mount Hood, Badger Creek, Bull of the Woods and Salmon Huckleberry Wilderness Areas are shown, and are interesting to study for those who have only seen the new wilderness legislation on cryptic web maps.
The Mount Hood map also includes the newly created Clackamas and Roaring River wilderness areas, the new “Mount Hood National Recreation Area” (a new designation adjacent to Badger Creek Wilderness) and the various new additions to the Wild and Scenic River system. Map blurbs provide travel information, area history and surprisingly detailed specifics on each of the wilderness areas that will be valuable to visitors exploring the area.
The Columbia Gorge map (No. 821) extends from Troutdale east all the way to the Deschutes River, encompassing the entire Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. The map also extends from Lost Lake on the south well into the Gifford Pinchot country north of the river, incorporating a good portion of the Indian Heaven Wilderness and all of the Silver Star Mountain backcountry.
Like the Mount Hood map, the Gorge map includes trail and travel information, map blurbs with travel information, area history, details on popular destinations within the Gorge and depicts the new wilderness boundaries resulting from the recent Mount Hood wilderness legislation.
Both maps are printed on waterproof paper for use in the field, and measure approximately 4.25″ x 9.25″ folded, fitting neatly into a coat pocket or backpack. Both are at a scale of 1:75,000, which is a bit small for some hikers, but has the advantage of being a great travel planning map – or just a nice way to explore those new wilderness areas from the comfort of your traveling armchair. Each map retails for about $12 directly from National Geographic or from online book sellers.