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Trail Exchange Roundup


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Since I knew I was going to purchase a GPS (60Csx) I began looking for a website to help me locate trails for hiking/mtn. biking. I immediately found a number of sources for such information, and began seeking the best. Below are my findings. Note: I consider a "trail" to be a path in which you can walk/run/hike/mountain bike. Admittedly, my primary concern is Hiking & Mtn. Biking. I live in the US (Nevada), but tried not to let that sway my ratings.

Here are my findings:

Winner for best interface:


Features include:

Easily upload .gpx and a host of other formats. Also converts/outputs many different formats.

Or you can plot out your course over the maps (based on google-maps api).

Course includes elevation, distance, starting coordinates.

Email course to friend.

Integrate trail into your Blog.

Searchable trails.


Extremely closeRunner Up:


This is basically the same as gpsies. One of the main differences is, the sidebar has direct integration with Flickr, so you can see geo-coded pics that other people have taken in the area. I flip back & forth between these 2 websites, but over-all I think gpsies has a cleaner interface. Sample

Winner for best source of information:


Granted, this will probably change greatly depending on your specific area, but for me this website had the most trails. Nothing fancy like the other websites, but if the ultimate goal is to find a new trail to hike on...this is the resource I have been using most. Displays info from TOPO! and allows you to download the TOPO! (which would be cool if GPS Babel could convert, but it can't..see my thread)

This is probably a good time to mention, that all the websites I looked at (with the exception of 1 or 2) are user-driven...meaning that exposure and user input really dictate how well of a resource it is. Hopefully, over time, one of the 2 winning websites will become more and more popular here in the US.

Honorable Mentions

Below are the websites that I looked at which I think are worth noting. I italisized the most important things to note about each site:


Also based on the Google Maps API. Decent interface, just not as complete as the others. Decent exposure.(exposure=amount of trails in USA)


Also based on the Google Maps API. Decent interface, bad exposure.


Decent source of info with .gpx downloads including waypoints & tracks.


Easy way to get a bunch of way-points into gps, but bad exposure.

TOPO! Exchange Looks like it has good exposure, but since .tpo files are 100% useless without the software...doesn't do anything for me.


Forum for TOPO! exchanges, could prove useful to someone (not me though, as discussed earlier...can't do anything with .tpo files)


Could be usefull information source if you don't mind searching forums.


Could be a useful source of information, if you really want to search for something interesting in your area.


Another rendition of the Gmaps api that falls short of the winning 2. Would be nice if all of the gmap renditions were consolidated (maybe that's what someone should take a day off to do)



Other sites I searched, but don't have really anything to say about (meaning...I didn't like them for one reason or another)




...and some more that I can not remember. Hope this info helps someone.

Edited by mike909
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I started to summarize this thread and, nearing the end, discovered/remembered that you had largely done so. Let me add one other site mentioned on the other thread and one not yet mentioned.



This is a good site for hiking trail information, but limited to Virginia and West Virginia.


Also good to know about Redwood Mtn Biker's GPS Data Search Tool. which takes advantage of Google's custom search capability to search some 30 plus sites like those in this thread.


Thanks for summarizing and annotating this list, Mike. I'm bookmarking it.

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Also good to know about Redwood Mtn Biker's GPS Data Search Tool. which takes advantage of Google's custom search capability to search some 30 plus sites like those in this thread.

I would like to add that one to the 'honorable mention' list, but I don't think I can edit the original post anymore. I like what people are doing with google's custom search. Also, I believe we will see some creative uses of google's ability now to save your own maps directly from the native gmap interface.

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GPSies has an awesome track maker. I recently needed to make some PQs of caches along bike trails. I make the track in GPSies.com and imported it in to my account to generate the PQ.


Two tips:


- Keep the track points close together so that you can narrow the range of the PQ.


- Break the tracks into segments of no more than 500 points.

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I'll mention one other that I've found: Backpacker Magazine has a pretty good database of trails, with descriptions and GPS tracklogs.

Agreed, I've actually used this one as well.

connect.garmin.com seems like a good interface as well, but falls short on trails (at least in my area).


It's been years since my original post, so I'm betting some of those sites are now better, some worse.

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Also consider:


the MapMy... family of websites

MapMyRun.com, MapMyRide.com, MapMyWalk.com, MapMyHike.com, MapMyFitness.com, MapMyTri.com & MapMyMountain.com

Crankfire for New England


Similar, but these offerings don't provide hosting for you. If you have hosting arranged through your own web server, Google Docs, or whatnot, you can use them.


GPS Visualizer


XML Google Maps Wordpress Plugin (if you have a self-hosted Wordpress.com site)

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