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  1. #1
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    Default Distance and time between trailheads

    Are there any apps, programs or sites that easily calculate the distance and driving time between established (and many other secondary) trail heads or parking areas? Perhaps using Google Maps.

    It is tedious trying to find and place icons on Google Maps, but possible.

    Thanks.

  2. #2

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    Depends on how fancy you want to get. If you just right click on the spot in Google Maps the first two options are directions to here and directions from here. The directions box will open and if you just left click on where you are going to (or from) you'll get your directions. If you had the lat/long coordinates, you could paste them into Google. I've added a set of points to Google Maps before, but they came out of a GIS. If you were to upload the point layer into Google maps, you would be able to see the points easier plus you can navigate to them if I remember correctly.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
    Robert Hunter & Ron McKernan

    Whiteblaze.net User Agreement.

  3. #3

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    I think the main issue is AT trailheads and parking lot locations aren't in the Google maps data base, so one has to manually locate those points. Which is fine if you know where you want start/end before hand but not it your trying to decide which are the best places to start or end to minimize travel time between those points. You could spend all day trying different combinations.

    Guthook has all the location data and it is overlaid on Google Maps, so it probably wouldn't be too hard to add this kind of feature to the app. Maybe contact Guthook and ask.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  4. #4

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    This is a pretty good resource for parking/trail access points

    http://rohland.homedns.org:8008/at/at_menu.aspx

  5. #5

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    I use Guthook on my phone, and Google maps on my PC. It helps to have the two devices going at once. At least in my state, Google maps can find the trailheads easily.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    I think the main issue is AT trailheads and parking lot locations aren't in the Google maps data base, so one has to manually locate those points. Which is fine if you know where you want start/end before hand but not it your trying to decide which are the best places to start or end to minimize travel time between those points. You could spend all day trying different combinations.

    Guthook has all the location data and it is overlaid on Google Maps, so it probably wouldn't be too hard to add this kind of feature to the app. Maybe contact Guthook and ask.
    I'll throw a plug in for Whiteblaze Pages, it has an extensive set of GPS coordinates throughout. One can just plug those coordinates into Google Maps and get the distances.

    In a GIS, features are sometimes set to show only at certain scales. I know on Google Maps the trail doesn't always show up, it depends on the scale. Sometimes you really have to zoom in to see the trail. In general though, it's not particularly important to nail the parking lot exactly. You just need to find the crossing. Being off by a few hundred yards isn't particularly a problem if you are at least on the correct road nearby. One way to fix that would be to import the AT trail layer into Google Maps (which I just thought of), into your personal maps or whatever it's called. Then I think it would not disappear as readily when zooming in and out. I will try this myself when I get a chance.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
    Robert Hunter & Ron McKernan

    Whiteblaze.net User Agreement.

  7. #7

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    IMHO, Google directions tends to default to major highways and ignore small local roads. I frequently run into situations in VT where google has to be forced to accept dirt roads that can save significant mileage. In some cases 50 to 100 miles. There are a lot of FS roads in the south that go up and over mountains where the public roads go around them. In 2002 I used the Delorme Gazetteers and a primitive GPS to find those occasionally hard to find FS roads. In some occasions the FS roads were at the end of what looked to be some farmers driveway. I made darn sure that I was at the right spot before I drove up it and was careful to look out for farm animals.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    IMHO, Google directions tends to default to major highways and ignore small local roads. I frequently run into situations in VT where google has to be forced to accept dirt roads that can save significant mileage. In some cases 50 to 100 miles. There are a lot of FS roads in the south that go up and over mountains where the public roads go around them. In 2002 I used the Delorme Gazetteers and a primitive GPS to find those occasionally hard to find FS roads. In some occasions the FS roads were at the end of what looked to be some farmers driveway. I made darn sure that I was at the right spot before I drove up it and was careful to look out for farm animals.
    Google Maps is optimizing for time and not a particular lot of options to switch, perhaps avoid highways but I don't recommend that. I was going to add earlier that I wonder if Google Maps calculates the time to travel FS and other forest roads appropriately. I think it's probably optimistic. Some forest roads are really slow and winding. Even if going around is longer distance, time-wise it may be shorter. You can force a shorter route by adding a stop so if Google has the road, you can still route it that way if you think it's shorter. Gazetteers are good for finding those forest roads if there's a specific point you need to get to. If you want really fine detail, the National Forests sites sometimes have the roads layers and/or maps of the FS roads (the quads). Sometimes those are logging roads and overgrown though and sometimes they are gated and sometimes just not there anymore. You could also go to state GIS websites to get roads information. Getting the time calculation is a different story.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
    Robert Hunter & Ron McKernan

    Whiteblaze.net User Agreement.

  9. #9

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    Ideally, you'd be looking for trailheads on paved, state or town roads to minimize travel time. Having to use FS roads to get somewhere for a section hike is just poor planning.

    I used google maps to direct me to someplace from my house. It was confused. Soon after leaving my driveway, it wanted me to turn onto the Ledge Trail - a hiking trail. It seems many of the trails in town are on the town street map, and google thinks these are actual roads. If it provides a shorter route, it tells you to use it. Which is how some people end up where they shouldn't be and get stuck in a mountain pass as the storm rages.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Ideally, you'd be looking for trailheads on paved, state or town roads to minimize travel time. Having to use FS roads to get somewhere for a section hike is just poor planning....
    Some FS roads are difficult to navigate but there's a few exceptions. In Vermont, FS route 10 in the Green Mountain NF is actually paved from the west side all the way to Rt. 7, the major N-S highway in the western part of the state. It's also got a decent parking lot. Further south in VT, the Kelly Stand Rd. is a town road but it's gravel all the way. Again, it's got a good parking lot at the trailhead. I've done section hikes from both of these locations as well as one on the LT in the Moosalamoo National Recreation Area reached by a FS road.

    Not the AT but in Kentucky, the Sheltowee Trace goes through Daniel Boone NF where there are access points reached by decent Forest Service roads.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Ideally, you'd be looking for trailheads on paved, state or town roads to minimize travel time. Having to use FS roads to get somewhere for a section hike is just poor planning.

    I used google maps to direct me to someplace from my house. It was confused. Soon after leaving my driveway, it wanted me to turn onto the Ledge Trail - a hiking trail. It seems many of the trails in town are on the town street map, and google thinks these are actual roads. If it provides a shorter route, it tells you to use it. Which is how some people end up where they shouldn't be and get stuck in a mountain pass as the storm rages.
    You would be quite surprised, I can point out several FS roads down south that save a lot of time and more important allow access to road crossings on the AT that allows slackpacking. Obviously section hikers should try to use major road crossings to begin and end a section but there are some FS roads that save hours of driving.

  12. #12
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    12-07-2016
    Location
    Louisville, Ohio
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    78
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by WMR View Post
    This is a pretty good resource for parking/trail access points

    http://rohland.homedns.org:8008/at/at_menu.aspx
    Thanks to all for their (belated) responses. At his (hers) suggestion I have been using WMR's link above.
    Not only does it have excellent parking and trail accessibility information, it has photos of many of the parking areas
    and other parts of the trail and various views along the A T.

  13. #13

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    My short version:
    Google map the trailhead on your phone, save those coordinates in an album called trailheads. Thats what I have done thru alot of the trail. Takes a minute but once saved in the album, service is not required to access the directions.
    Trail Miles: 3,918.6 - AT Trips: 70
    AT Map 1 Completion: 2004.8 - AT Map 2 Completion: 265.0
    Sheltowee Trace Map Completion: 26.0

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