One of my very favorite web sites is HikingUpward.com, where one can locate and learn about great local day hike venues or more distant, multi-day backpacking trips in the mid-Atlantic region. This free web site contains both Google-based static and interactive trail maps showing the terrain, distance, camping locations, and snapshots along the trails. Even more valuable, each hike includes a link to a PDF file containing a map and trail description in a convenient two-page format. As a result, USGS Topo maps are not necessary, especially for day hikes. Key indicators summarize each hike listing, in a 1-to-5 scale for difficulty, streams, views, solitude, and camping. User reviews also provide feedback about each hike in a 1-to-5 scale, which may influence your decision to take a hike. The following screenshot shows the main page highlighting a specific hike in North Carolina:
If you click on the left side map on the main page, the following interactive map appears showing the location of all hikes available. Based on your location, you can quickly find a map that suits your ability and schedule:
Another way to view the hikes is by name, distance, difficulty, streams, views, solitude, and user feedback. These qualities can filter the list using slider controls.
One of my favorite local day hikes is Sugarloaf Mountain. The following page lists many details about the area, with both static and interactive map components. Like many parks, there is more than one trail than the one highlighted in the map and trail description and you can easily length or shorten the hike.
A detailed, interactive Google-based topo map plus user review are displayed at the bottom of the page:
Every hike includes links to printable a PDF trail guide, local weather, and summary of the key hike metadata for length, difficulty, streams, views, solitude, and camping:
Some trail maps are created by Hikingupward.com and some by other land management organizations. Sugarloaf Mountain is owned and managed by Stronghold Inc., and their complete trail map is available fro download from the hike description page: