- How to Read a Map & Signage
The Interstate System
- One & Two Digit Signs
- Even # are east-west routers
- Odd # are north-south routers
- Business Loop
- Business Spur
- First digit even# = route through or around
- First digit odd# = spur into a city
common signs and abbreviations:
Interstate = "I"
Highway = Hwy.
State Routes = SR or CA
Note: Mile Markers (a.k.a.
postmiles) for the most part go like this...
Even-numbered routes usually increase
from west to east.
Odd-numbered routes, from south to north.
However, there are exceptions. For individual routes &
their direction, see this Dept.
of Transportation useful Table
Roads are usually represented by light
gray lines, thin double lines or even dashed double lines. Make
sure you follow your desired route through to the end to make
sure it doesn't extend to a dead end or result in a locked gate.
Contact the local ranger or BLM office to find out about gate
closures. Or even possible road closures. Familiarize yourself
/ Forest Service Roads (usually dirt roads) if
you are planning on heading into the mountains, deserts or back
country areas. You may even want to check
road conditions before you head out on your adventure. During
summer months you are most likely to experience open roads without
National Forest Service Maps are
extremely helpful when venturing off pavement to dirt roads.
Most really good primitive camping areas are located on these
dirt side roads. Get off the beaten path & find that perfect
meadow, waterfall or creek side spot.
books & state atlases
Large Map Books of back country regions are becoming ever popular. Book maps,
such as Thomas Brothers California, DeLorme or Benchmark cover the entire state! Your best bet for super detailed coverage is still the area BLM map or Forest Service NFS USDA maps.
Tom Harrison Maps are some of the best maps out there & they are tear-resistant plus waterproof, so they'll last.
Planning your road trip & what route you will take before
you leave is advised. Re-routing & assessing the situation
along the way at a dinner stop or roadside bathroom break is
New technology producing great stuff: Global Positioning Systems are almost a necessity for logging that
perfect trailhead or backwoods campsite.
Get Driving Directions & Make
your Own Map
Maps online are only for reference and convenience! Make sure you have another map or tow for cross referencing. Do not depend on digital cell phone service in the boonies. Real maps, paper topo maps have accurate details, asy to read, recommended for backcountry routes & forests back roads.