Thanks to the internet and applications like google maps, you can pretty much locate the majority of trails in George Washington National Forest with the click of a finger. Although when the pavement and cell service both come to an end, something more traditional is still your best option.
Listen in on any conversation covering back country navigation and you’ll probably hear people mention Avenza PDF Maps, Gaia GPS, and plenty of other forms of electronic navigation. Rarely these days though will you ever hear anyone really talk about using a paper map.
Yet when it comes to George Washington National Forest, paper is still king and maps such as the ones produced by National Geographic are still our go to resource.
National Geographic Trail Maps
- Staunton Shenandoah Mtn (791)
- Massanutten & Great North Mtn (792)
- Shenandoah (228)
With these three maps, you can easily find all of the popular trails and attractions in the northern portion of GW National Forest.
The list of trails include Flagpole Knob, Dictum Ridge, and Second Mountain. Every road and trail is listed, and marked based on the allowed usage (vehicle, hiking, horseback, etc.).
The National Geographic Maps also include activity guides that can point you to everything from popular fishing spots to designated campgrounds. They also mark the location of gates along the trails, but many of them are only open during certain times of the season so make sure you do some homework ahead of time.
They also provide excellent topo information, and are clear an easy to read. With one of these in hand, both first time and frequent visitors can explore everything GW National Forest has to offer.
If you’re looking to snag some of these maps, your best bet is the local Barnes and Noble or REI, they’re readily stocked and I always see them on the shelves. So the next time you’re out on the trail and everyone’s phone can’t get a signal, whip out your awesome map and impress all of your friends with your land nav skills. Or you can get them lost, but hey, then we just call it an adventure!