How to Explore the Backcountry With Benchmark Maps

How to Explore the Backcountry With Benchmark Maps
Hikers, explorers and campers use Benchmark Maps Road and Recreation Atlases for detailed, highly accurate topographical imaging of roads, forests, rivers and lakes as well as camping grounds. Since 1995, more than a million Benchmark maps and atlases have been purchased. Explore the back country with your Benchmark Map. You can find RV camp grounds, public camp grounds, and private camp grounds as well as outdoor recreational areas and state parks.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Plan a camping trip using your Benchmark map. Search for campgrounds and unpaved roads as well as walking, hiking and biking trails. Choose from one of eight atlases; all of which offer varying map scales from 1:750,000 (a 1-inch to 12-mile ratio) to 1:250,000 (a 1-inch to 4-mile ratio). As of 2010, Road and Recreation Atlases are available only for western states.
Step 2
Check the color shadings on your Benchmark map. states that campers can camp anywhere outside the National Forest as long as the campsite is not within 100 feet of a lake, trail or stream. If postings are not available in your camp area, the color shadings on your Benchmark map will help you to find such dispersed camping grounds.
Step 3
Choose a high-detail map when camping back country campsites that are not listed on the Reserve America or sites. Rely on features such as spot-elevation markings, which detail hill summits and other peaks. Check your Benchmark map for brown or black crosses, which identify areas where spot elevations may not be obvious. This mapping feature is especially important for campers traveling across road intersections.
Step 4
Locate contact information for the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management on your Benchmark map. Locating these and other state and federal government agencies is especially important if you become lost while camping in remote, back country areas.

Tips & Warnings

Use your Benchmark map to locate forests and wildlife, river rafting and boating areas.

Article Written By Charlie Gaston

Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.

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