Good trail books for Western US? (1 Viewer)

e9999

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suggestions on good books for trails in the Western US and in particular California?

I see these "Backcountry Adventures" books by Massey for various states. These seem to have much more info than just the trail. Are these worth getting? About $25-35 at Amazon for NoCal and Socal respectively. (Dang, So Cal more expensive, same number of pages, dang yuppies....)

There is also some by Wells, at least for So Cal and Moab IIRC. These seem to be more trail directions, with less additional info. That right? Anybody knows about the SoCal one? It's about $17 at Amazon.

These generally worth it or a waste of $$? Tempted to try.

Comments, comparisons, other suggestions?

TIA
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Eric,

The quality of these types of guides vary so much by destination that I think it makes more sense to pick an area you are interested in wheeling, then ask on here if anyone's got a good guide recommendation for one of that area. So, a DeLorme guide may be excellent for Nevada, but suck for Idaho because wheeling trails are kind of a subset of maps. Most maps don't have local trails on them.

So, I suggest you pick an area you want to explore because of proximity to your house, geology, or other interests and go from there.

DougM
 

e9999

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IdahoDoug said:
Eric,

The quality of these types of guides vary so much by destination that I think it makes more sense to pick an area you are interested in wheeling, then ask on here if anyone's got a good guide recommendation for one of that area. So, a DeLorme guide may be excellent for Nevada, but suck for Idaho because wheeling trails are kind of a subset of maps. Most maps don't have local trails on them.

So, I suggest you pick an area you want to explore because of proximity to your house, geology, or other interests and go from there.

DougM
Good point. Well, I mentioned California, but anyway, the 2 series I mentioned are quite different in nature, I'm hoping that a comparison or observations would apply across the board.
 

2mbb

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I have three books by roger mitchell, High Sierra SUV Trails volume I, volume II, and Death Valley SUV trails. He has other books as well (publisher web site) . I usually find these in ranger station book stores. I also have 4 wheelers guide , Trails of the Tahoe National Forest.

In terms of maps, I find the national forest service maps to be indespensible, if you're headed into one of California's national forests. The trail books help with trip planning, but I think a good map is much more useful when exploring out on the trail.
 
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The Backcountry Guides are excellent quality, with good route detail (GPS and mileage). However, they will not have any hard-core trails.

The Wells books with have the excitement you want.
 
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The backcountry roads book is very detailed and informative.

The Mitchell books are also detailed. I even have the old Mitchell style pamphlet books!

The La Seista Press books (I think it has been taken over by another company) have some good pamphlets.
 

e9999

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Thanks all.

I have now indeed read a few times that the backcountry adv books have little about hardcore rock-crawling stuff. Does that mean it's only graded dirt roads or are there still some natural state trails that go into less frequented areas?
I'm looking more for exp style trails to get out of the beaten bath, not looking specifically for big rocks to go over, I certainly don't mind if the trail is good as long as it goes away from the crowds to pretty areas. I guess that the Backcountry adv books would work out for that then?

Also read that the Wells one are very cut and dry, mostly directions and ratings. True?
 
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The Backcountry books have great expedition type routes, some nearing 100 miles off-highway. They are worth every penney IMO

Please let me know if I can be of any help. Just let me know the states you will be traveling in (general route) and the number of days in each state. I can provide you with suggestions.
guide@expeditionswest.com

Oh, and if you can make it to Laurel Lakes in the Sierra's, I would highly recommend it. One of my all time favorite
 

e9999

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2mbb said:
I have three books by roger mitchell, High Sierra SUV Trails volume I, volume II, and Death Valley SUV trails. He has other books as well (publisher web site) . I usually find these in ranger station book stores. I also have 4 wheelers guide , Trails of the Tahoe National Forest.

In terms of maps, I find the national forest service maps to be indespensible, if you're headed into one of California's national forests. The trail books help with trip planning, but I think a good map is much more useful when exploring out on the trail.

where do you get these maps? (you don't mean the little maps they give away at ranger stations, right?)
 

e9999

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expeditionswest said:
The Backcountry books have great expedition type routes, some nearing 100 miles off-highway. They are worth every penney IMO

Please let me know if I can be of any help. Just let me know the states you will be traveling in (general route) and the number of days in each state. I can provide you with suggestions.
guide@expeditionswest.com

Oh, and if you can make it to Laurel Lakes in the Sierra's, I would highly recommend it. One of my all time favorite
thanks for the kind offer. I'll take you up on that.
I'll get one or 2 of the Massey California books to get started and maybe a Wells as well.
 

e9999

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e9999

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OK, got me the SoCal Massey book.

First impressions:
630 pages, big.
Nice, good quality, lots of color photos.

52 trails for Central mountains, 50 for So. Coast, 51 for desert. Not bad at all, seems like he got most of the best known ones locally. I'm guessing you probably won't find the hidden little gem few locals know about, but way better than trial and error if you are someplace you don't know well already.
The intro section on 4WD is surprisingly good. Short but technical and impressively correct for a general audience book. Not that it would teach *you* anything, but nice to see complex issues articulated simply and correctly.

About 115 pages of general info on nature, history, geology, towns, indian tribes etc. Not needed but adds some background some may enjoy. Could have been left out if that would have reduced the price and girth IMHO, I can find this any number of places.
The trail part is very well done. There I enjoy the little history blurbs on each trail. Clear rating system, excellent directions. General description for each trail is great, tells you whether you want to go there or not, beforehand.

As mentioned by others, this is mostly for folks who want to do touring rather than technical rock-crawling. There are a few more technical trails or portions of trails and they are discussed/warned about but seem to be more the exception than the norm. Just fine for exped-minded and exploring folks, actually. I was worried about that, but actually that's just fine for me.

All in all, a great purchase, worth the $$!
 
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Great feedback. I share the same opinion.

I think you will find that the history, flora and fauna sections will be valuable. I use them quite often, which adds to the trip enjoyment for the passengers.
 

e9999

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I'll bring the "adventures" book to SnT if anybody wants to have a look at it...
 

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