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Thread: Caltopo Maps

  1. #1
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    Caltopo Maps

    Have any of you used this website to find trails?
    My wife found it while researching some trails she wanted to ride which is how we ended up hike a biking up a steep ass hill through poison oak.
    The site might be a bit over my head.
    For example I found this sub section specifically on China Camp
    https://caltopo.com/m/4S3G

    However if I just go to the base website I can't figure out how to get to the above information.
    https://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=37.9...4882&z=14&b=oc

    This is some serious back country shit so maybe it's over my head on how to use.
    I can say that since it isn't a mountain bike specific site and just shows trails it can lead you into someplace you shouldn't ride, and maybe shouldn't be at all.
    Which is how I ended up on a trail, that clearly hadn't been used much, and was too steep to ride up, and overgrown with poison oak.

    This is what happens when my wife wants to explore her boundaries because the base loop of china camp is getting boring for her.

  2. #2
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    I use CalTopo a lot. Not so much for Bay Area trails, more for the Sierra and other locations.

    I've never seen the 'subsection' feature before, but it's interesting because the base website map is somewhat more accurate (at least in terms of trail names).

    Trailforks sounds like a better resource for you. It will show you vertical drop/climb for each trail (which gets you preferred direction), difficulty ratings, and reviews.
    Live to Ride, Ride to Live

  3. #3
    J-Flo
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    Trailforks is one of the best resources. But you might also check out AllTrails.com. That database has a lot of (ahem) interesting trails all over the state that are not found on most maps.

    On a separate topic, there is a lot of good stuff at China Camp on the backside. Hard work to get there, but rewarding, challenging singletrack. Best to consult or ride with someone who knows those trails for route suggestions - some of them are truly hairy but there are intermediate routes as well.


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  4. #4
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    I create nearly all my gps files with caltopo. The link you are looking for is a user created map and is accessible via the link only. The website does not store maps like Trailforks or strava.

  5. #5
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    There is also Movescount by Suunto.
    Map - Movescount.com

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by PL Scott View Post
    I create nearly all my gps files with caltopo. The link you are looking for is a user created map and is accessible via the link only.
    That's what I thought.
    So my question is how do you see a list of user created maps?

  7. #7
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    https://www.komoot.com

    This is pretty good.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SikeMo View Post
    https://www.komoot.com

    This is pretty good.
    That doesn't seem to have anything to do with Caltopo?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick-e View Post
    That's what I thought.
    So my question is how do you see a list of user created maps?
    Caltopo does not create lists. If the user has created a map and made it publicly viewable, the map is indexable by search engines such as google. On the caltopo site, click on "caltopo" in the upper left and click on the blog. Look at the Sharing a map link on the right or use the search box.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick-e View Post
    That doesn't seem to have anything to do with Caltopo?
    Not directly. Nearly every site uses data from Open Street Map, which is free and open source. It looks like Caltopo is using data from Open Cycle Map, which is just a rendering layer of Open Street Map. Trailforks? same thing. MTBProject? Mapbox, which comes from, you guessed it: OSM. If you want to use the most accurate and up to date trail information, why not go right to the source? There is an Open Street Map app for Android and it's great, but it's a bit too slow most of the time. I have switched to Komoot for this reason. It's not free, however, but it works great out on the trail and the map updates come at the same frequency as OSM (I think). Another great tool is Ride With GPS. They are almost always up to date on map and routing data and will give you a very nice elevation profile.

    What these app don't have is peoples' opinions on trails. Trailsforks and MTB Project are better for that, however they are almost never up to date on the newest trails and *ahem* social trails.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by PL Scott View Post
    Caltopo does not create lists. If the user has created a map and made it publicly viewable, the map is indexable by search engines such as google. On the caltopo site, click on "caltopo" in the upper left and click on the blog. Look at the Sharing a map link on the right or use the search box.
    I wasn't sure how to follow this navigation, but you can see all the publicly shared maps here: https://caltopo.com/find

    So, it looks like the OP found a publicly shared map on Caltopo which has a trail name overlay over Open Cycle Map. You can see all the same trails on Trailforks if you select the OSM overlay option, most of them just won't be labelled in China Camp, which is the nice thing about that overlay someone made.

    I found Komoot to be a great resource when building a new route. The map seems more up to date than Alltrails in my area (although they may both be pulling from OSM at some interval, perhaps?). Also, I found the Komoot route builder and turn by turn directions to be better than Trailforks and Strava for MTB.

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