24K Topographic Maps


Garmin GPS Receivers


Above the Timber

The Colorado Trail 24K GPS Topo map is a Garmin compatible GPS map which can be viewed on any Garmin mapping GPS receiver. Additionally, the maps can be viewed using Garmin MapSource and BaseCamp, both free downloads, on a PC or Mac. Once loaded onto your PC or Mac, you can view and/or print at any scale any portion of the map.

The 500-mile hiking trail, mostly on National Forest lands, which starts SW of Denver and finishes near Durango.  The trail is administered by the Colorado Trail Foundation (CTF), here's their website: The Colorado Trail. Of interest while the CTF makes frequent reference to GPS accuracy and how their paper maps are based on GPS tracks, CTF offers no GPS maps, only heavy and expensive paper maps . . . go figure!!!

While based on the Colorado 24K maps (see here), the Colorado Trail maps have a number of unique features:

  • The line style for the trail is super bold and displays on top of all other lines. That includes all roads (federal, state, and county).
  • The main trail is consistently named "Colo Trail", all local trail names have been replaced with this single short name for the entire 500 miles.
  • Five bicycle go-arounds are shown for when the main trail goes through wilderness areas, again using the same super bold line style. These go-arounds are consistently named "Colo Trail Bike" (see right screenshot-top).  
  • A Continental Divide alternate route is shown on the west side of the Sawatch Range, from Twin Lakes to south of Monarch Pass (see left screenshot-top). This alternate includes the latest trail revisions like the new (2012) trail to avoid FR 390 to Winfield. This alternative route is referred to as the "Collegiate West Alternative" on the CTF website.

Unlike a guide book, these 24K Topos show all the detail of a USGS Quad map without all the bulk. See access roads, contours, streams, public and private lands, lakes, even beaver ponds. Of course, the ultimate feature of any GPS map is to know where you are at relative to the map, see this article for details. You can still use all the waypoints from various free downloads and view them in map context.

The MapSource screenshot below shows all three variations of the Colorado Trail. Below Twin Lakes you can see the main trail go south and the Continental Divide alternative heads west and south over Hope Pass. Below that, west of Clear Creek Reservoir, the main trail goes south and the bicycle go-around goes east on CR390. Note how the super-bold line is on top of CR390, normally trails are displayed under roads.


 If you have any concerns that the Colorado Trail GPS maps will work on your Garmin GPS, simply download and install any of the free demo maps.

The entire Colorado Trail 24K Topo: