Meeks Bay to Echo Summit USGS backpacking maps: comments and questions

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 28 December 2010

INDEX: Meeks Bay to Echo Summit Backpacking Maps

Howdy. Welcome to the  comments and questions page for my set of Meeks Bay to Echo Summit USGS backpacking maps.

We're covering the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail route between these points, including the Pacific Crest Trail from where it cuts in near Middle Velma Lake. Here's the index page where you can access these USGS Topo maps:

Meeks Bay to Echo Summit Backpacking Maps

Map Issues

USGS maps are notorious for being high quality representations of terrain. But nature is not standing still, while USGS Topo Maps are only updated infrequently. Nature's continual work on the terrain results in constant modifications to the terrain.

In response, The Flower of American Youth, our wonderful trail workers, are constantly re routing and readjusting the trails in a wonderful, and brutal, interplay between themselves, huge amounts of rock, sand, trees and debris, against the heavy weight of gravity pushing the terrain. This inextricable natural process is magnified by the forces of snow, rain, and runoff.

This results of all this action is that many differences are evolving between the trail as marked on current maps, and its actual route through the terrain. This relationship constantly evolves over the years, and the maps only infrequently catch up.

 After a few decades of this dance, the actual trail route will significantly and multiply diverge from the mapped route. The cummulative result of the earth going one way, and the trail going the other way, also affects the accuracy of on-trail mileage signs as well.

It's kind of funny, but trail facts are in a constant process of evolution.

 There are a series of 7.5 and 30 minute USGS topo hiking maps used to depict the Desolation Wilerness. The 30 minute maps are generally older, and show trail routes long gone. The 7.5 minute maps are more recent, and show the current, if not the recent route of the trails.

I note the diffferences but do not correct them on the 30 minute maps. I try to mark the current trail route on the 7.5 minute maps.

As these divergences between the maps and the current trail routes are spread over many maps, I have noted the differences between route and map on each specific map and trail guide pages for each diverging location.

These divergences add up over the years to significantly change the length of sections of trail. My trail guide miles figures are based on the most recent changes in routes that I have noted.

If you note differences between the maps and actual routes let me know. If you note differences between the miles you record and mine, let me know.

All the comments about maps and miles between Meeks Bay and Echo Summit should come here, to this one place for discussion and updating.

If you have any questions or comments about these maps, leave 'em here!


Here's my take on the mileages and elevations between Meeks Bay and Echo Summit.

You should check out the home page of the trail guide as well.

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