DanM Member Posts: 7
edited July 2022 in ROUTES & TRAILS

As someone who loves to plan and go places with fewer people I try to really dig to get some beta on a future route. What do you folks do to plan your trips? What programs/sites/apps/forums do you look at?

For example, I recently have been excited about the Bears Ears area and have found limited information. I prepared by opening multiple tabs on my desktop. When I would find a name of a canyon my process was simple: search Gaia, search All Trails, search Hiking Project, search the internet for forums. If I couldn't find anything, I'd look at the next canyon over and do the same.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

This may only be a canyon country thing - it's good to know if you're getting into a technical canyon or not to best prepare -

but I'm curious what others are looking at and what tools are making ideas turn into trips!

Best Answer

  • TenDigitGrid
    TenDigitGrid Member, Moderator Posts: 82
    Answer ✓

    I do most of my planning in Caltopo. They have a little known feature that can be hit or miss called "Shared Caltopo Maps"

    If you go to some location you are planning and check this checkbox, other people routes and or markers will appear and you can see what other people have done in the area. I have found some gems with it.


    MARK SIREK Administrator Posts: 306


    These sound like great questions for @snechemias and @bdavis !

  • bdavis
    bdavis Member Posts: 5

    Another great resource for the southwest is, as well as,

    I believe you have to register with each and they may involve a subscription/app fee, but they both have great info on hiking, climbing, canyoneering in the southwest. I use them as a resource all of the time. BD

  • Jessicaholly88
    Jessicaholly88 Member Posts: 44

    Have you heard of fat maps? I find that really useful when planning trips!

  • bugglife
    bugglife Member Posts: 99
    edited August 2022


    I agree with all of the above suggestions, and will add on where I can. I use Gaia a ton, and recommend moving back and forth between different layers, and zooming in as far as you can get, as you might be able to find information that is not super obvious when zoomed out and/or on a different layer.

    One that hasn't been mentioned is, which has a lot of good information on technical canyons, caves, and other points of interest.

    I have also had good luck reading published materials - books, magazines, etc. For that specific area, In Search of the Old Ones, by David Roberts, has a lot of good information. I am almost finished with House of Rain, by Craig Childs, which isn't quite as geographically specific, but is still relevant. Both authors have a ton of other books that might interest you. I generally get ideas for physical books to read by looking in the gift stores at the local NPS sites, as well as local museums. I try to buy the hard copies from the NPS sites to support them when I can, but sometimes I get them via audible, or from my library.

    For technical canyoneering specifically, I've been listening to two podcasts.

    * The Canyons are Calling

    * The Climber's Exit - which I hope gets some new episodes soon.

    There might be other podcasts more specific to your interests.

    Lastly, I have found it intimidating, but I have also reached out to people via email and Instagram. I'll find their useful comments on online forums, and then google them to find their contact info. For the most part, they have been getting back to me with good beta.

    I hope that helps!

  • AustinHager
    AustinHager Member Posts: 34

    I really like checking out trip reports on Where I live it is relatively remote so we don't have the luxury of frequent trip reports, and most of the trailheads are relatively low elevation so anything off-trail really becomes a slog until you hit the alpine.

    Also, linking up with the local Mountaineering Clubs can be great to hear about people's approach and what the terrain looks like.