Finding and buying topo maps for trips to areas that aren’t near where you live can sometimes be challenging, time consuming and expensive in the long run. The good news is that there are resource out there that allow you to obtain USGS quad maps for nearly every part of the United States…for FREE! YAY…thanks Obama! 🙂
Though I’ve found the USGS Store to occasionally be down or very slow at times, with repeated visits, in the end…I’ve usually been able to obtain the map I am after. The maps you receive are 7.5 X 15 Minute maps and of decent resolution, but finding a printer to print them out full size I would imagine would still be tough for most users. Still, even a smaller TOPO map of the area you are headed to is better than nothing and if you really need the full size version, you could always print it out in sections…and then tape all the sections together.
1. Follow this LINK to the USGS Store Map Locator page.
2. Enter the name of the area you’re looking for in the ‘SEARCH‘ box and hit ‘Go‘.
3. Click on the RED indicator on the map closest to that area.
4. Click ‘download‘ next to the appropriate map.
5. Choose ‘save‘ and hit ‘OK‘ in the window that pops up.
6. Open the ZIP file and then drag the PDF file to your desktop.