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Comments about Trails Illustrated Mount Rainier National Park Trail Map:
We purchased this map for an overnight backpacking trip, as it's one of the few available for Mt. Rainier that has topo coverage.
This map has nice coverage of Mt. Rainier and the trails around Paradise, but suffers from one huge flaw: it can't decide if it's a climbing map or a backpacking map. There's a nice detailed map on one side (1:27,500 as opposed to the main 1:55,000 map), which you'd hope focuses on trails, but instead it's a huge map of the mountain itself, with a few pieces of the Wonderland Trail and the Paradise trails skirting around the edge. Far more useful would be to have a detailed map of the Wonderland Trail and Paradise, even in sections. Instead you're left muddling with the 1:55,000 main map unless you're on a few specific sections of trail.
It includes some great info - locations of backcountry campgrounds and details about Rainier backpacking procedures - but I could do with the huge infodump of the Leave No Trace ethics in full detail (don't mind them in summary), activities, interpretive trails, a history of the park, ten essentials, etc. This is part of the reason the map is so bulky and weighs so much! Also why it's so hard to fold.
The map is waterproof, but unfortunately the ink rubs off easily, especially when you fold it, which you have to do given its size. It also smells really funky; I've used plenty of waterproof maps that smell fine, fold fine, and don't rub off, but this map fails at all of these things. Wish Tom Harrison made maps of Rainier!
There are also a few topographical errors, but they're present on all maps of the region including the USGS quads. Still, makes navigating a pain in the rear. The map is at least easy to read; the contours are at 100' intervals, with bold lines every 500'; I find this a lot easier to read than the 400' bold/80' line setups. I have no idea how it works with a GPS, but it worked well with a compass.
So - I bought it (and would again) because it's one of the few maps of the region and is easier to deal with than a set of USGS quad printouts. But if there were other options, this would be relegated to trip planning at home due to its bulk, weight, and the ink rubbing off.
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