Trails and Maps

One of my purposes of my Picayune Valley and Shanks Cove trip earlier this year was to create GPS tracks for the Western States and Shanks Cove trails. In the area of the saddle between the Five Lakes Creek basin and Picayune Valley, the trail alignment shown on the National Geographic Trails Illustrated maps is incorrect. It turns out, now that Trimble Outdoors has added National Forest roads and trails as an available overlay in MyTopo Maps, that the Forest Service base maps are incorrect.

The current alignment of the Western States trail as it drops into Picayune Valley is different than shown on the map. I’m pretty sure there was a trail reroute about 20 years ago, which explains this variance. For the Shanks Cove trail, the alignment from junction with the Western States trail is completely wrong. The maps show the trail going straight up the ridge, over the precipitous cliffs, which is a physical impossibility. The trail instead drops into the Shanks Cove drainage and then climbs back to the ridge crest west of the cliffs. I hope to get the Forest Service to correct their base maps, which will eventually be reflected in the National Geographic maps, other physical maps, and online maps.

It is not possible with a hosted WordPress blog to link to gpx and kmz documents, so the tracks can’t be posted here, but temporary links to the tracks on the MotionX website are available below.

I used an iPad to create these tracks, which does not have a high quality or professional GPS antenna, so both the alignment and mileage should be considered approximate.

The maps included below are not to scale, and are low resolution, so it is not possible to blow them up and see the trail alignment details. I’m still working on how to present this information, and if I figure out a better way of doing it, you’ll see it here.

Western States Trail

Western States Trail

Shanks Cove Trail

Shanks Cove Trail

4 thoughts on “Trails and Maps

  1. Pingback: Trail conditions 2018 | Granite Chief Wilderness

  2. Dan McGee

    I attempted the Shanks Cove Trail yesterday from the 5 Lakes Creek drainage. The trail is heavily overgrown with a significant amount of large tree fall. The trail is only obvious maybe 15% of the time and the going is very slow. I ended up turning back a little more than halfway to the ridge. I’d say this is really a bushwhacking route right now. GPS is good thing to have with you when you get off ‘trail’ and the creek cannot be heard.

    1. Eric Peach

      The Picayune Valley Trail from Talbot Camp to Whiskey Creek has been cleared of all logs. Some tread work and brushing also. It is quite possible to do a loop through and around the valley using Picayune Valley, Whiskey Creek, PCT, Tevis/WST Event and new Talbot Creek Trails, (Talbot Creek trail is decommissioned FS Road 51). No water on Talbot Creek Trail. I backpacked it Aug 4,5,6 2018.

  3. Chumley

    Found this post while looking for info on Trimble outdoors app… And thought I would suggest a great site to you.

    Obviously it is based in az, but now over 15 years old there is an increasing amount of data for other states, especially the surrounding western states.

    I mention it because it is a free site and allows you to post GPS tracks as well as photos and trip journals. Others can download your posted GPS tracks. There’s no expiration date. And the map layers are nice too– several topo options, aerial photo, etc.

    There’s even a page for this hike with a handful of trips logged with photos, but no gps track yet.

    I’m not affiliated with the site, but I use it frequently. It’s a great resource for hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts.

    As a new user you won’t be allowed to link back to your blog from hikearizona but you are definitely free to use it to host your GPS tracks and link to it from your blog.

    Hope this helps you out!



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