Life off Interstate 84 - Idaho

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(19 April 2014)  My name is Tim Bondy and the owner of this website.  As of Jan 1st, 2014 we moved to a different domain.  Please head over to the Bondy Blogs Website at  Different address, different system but same type of great articles, photos, stories and information. 

You are here: Mtn Home Outdoor Local Outdoor News New Idaho Topo Maps for Outdoor People

New Idaho Topo Maps for Outdoor People

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Idaho Topo Maps for Rock Hounds, Hunters, Hikers and ATV Folks – They Are Free

Idaho Topo Map Header

The United States Geological Survey is in the process of creating new topographical maps for Idaho...and the most of the US. These new generation maps now include satellite imagery along with the usual elevation contours. This might or might not be a great thing for outdoor enthusiasts such as hikers, rock hounds, ATV'er and hunters.

My Review of the New Topo Maps
I'm a little disappointed with the new generation maps for the following reasons:
  • They have eliminated some (a lot) place names from the maps
  • Old mine sites are not included and this might be a concern for rock hounds.
  • Elevation contours numbers are not marked as frequently as the old maps and peaks do not have their elevation indicated.
  • Currently available for only southern Idaho.

What I like about the new generation Topo Maps
  • The visual display is easier to read. They are digital and much cleaner than the old maps.
  • The satellite data overlay helps visually fill in data such as unmarked roads and trails.
  • They are free to download but so are the old topo maps.
  • Currently available for for most of the Owyhee Mountains and Desert.

How to Download Topo Maps
1. Go to the USGS Map Locator website at:
2. Zoom in to the general location you would like to explore and get maps.

New Topo Map Locations in Idaho

3. Click the orange button and take note where the "red hashed" areas are.
4. Zoom in even closer to find the exact location you want maps.
5. Click the "MARK POINTS" radial button on the right side of the page.
6. Click on the map to drop a marker. Click the marker and download the map to your computer.
7. Open the map in your favorite PDF program.

Visual Comparison of Maps

Old Topo Map of Little Half Moon Pass in the Owyhee Mountains
Old style Idaho Topo Map

New Topo Map of Little Half Moon Pass with Satellite Imagery
New Style Topo maps for Idaho

New Topo Map of Little Half Moon Pass without Satellite Imagery

From what I can gather, these new topo maps will be updated about every 3 years. It sounds like they will also be including more place names as the technology matures.

What Are Your Thoughts
So...what do you think of these new maps? I'd like to hear what your experience is. Would you rather use the old version or the new version. Leave a comment and/or pass this article on to others who may not know about the USGS Store and the free maps they provide.

Tim Bondy

The Bondyweb.Com author

Comments (2)
  • Geoff Schroeder  - I can print any of these topos you'd like

    On a variety of papers and sizes....let me know if you'd like one.

  • Tim Bondy

    Geoff, I use the new fangled version of Topo Maps via a Garmin GPS unit when out on the trail. The topo's I use are strictly for the planning stages and post adventure research so no need to print them out. Plus I have a file that allows me to overlay topo maps right on Google Earth. But thanks for the offer.

    I can offer you the topo overlay for Google Earth. It's total cool for planning hikes and stuff.

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