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Best Road Atlas Maps of the Northwest

May 6, 2011, by Ken Jorgustin

Whether planning a road-trip vacation, or traveling, exploring, researching, or discovering… having a detailed Road Atlas is in many ways better than a simple fold-out map or even a GPS map device. A GPS device may be compact, convenient and pin-point accurate, but completely falls apart while trying to take in the bigger picture. That is, the ability to view a physically larger map, one that remains detailed and informative while at the same time providing a better sense of the overall region around you.

I’ve always enjoyed maps of various types and purposes. When considering a Road Atlas, know that there are two predominant players out there… De LORME and Benchmark. They each have their own unique map look-and-feel, and they are both very good. It does seem that Benchmark has been more aggressive during the past several years with updates and new editions. However either brand will serve you well.

While looking at the Road Atlas availability for the U.S. Northwest, I looked at customer reviews as well as edition updates in order to come up with a list of recommended Road Atlas maps for Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon.

Particularly if you live in one of these States, it would make good sense to keep one of these maps in your vehicle – and to not rely entirely on a GPS navigation device.


Wyoming Road Atlas

wyoming-road-atlas
Reviews
This is a very good atlas. Makes navigation easy in the National Park and wilderness areas. Knowing surrounding elevations is an advantage over a regular map.

They are great to take along on a road trip as they are very detailed and show you where so much is. Elevation, rivers, places to camp etc

This is the atlas I recommend for finding back roads and hiking trails.

The Delorme atlases/gazetteers are valuable references especially if you are traveling the back roads.

Wyoming Atlas & Gazetteer

The Ultimate Wyoming Atlas and Travel Encyclopedia, 2nd Edition


Montana Road Atlas

montana-road-atlas
Reviews
This atlas was a godsend, showing me forest roads that were not always noted on other maps. National forests, BLM lands, all were clearly shown in this atlas. I could open to whatever page I needed and find a campground, trail head or a forest to camp in.

If you want to explore the back-roads and find the best area’s to go camping, without a lot of people next door, you need this book. It’s nice to know that when you start into a remote area, whether you can expect to find quiet solitude around you, or a KOA campground…

It is very helpful because it not only shows the roads but has lists of campgrounds, recreation spots, and a lot more.

Benchmark Montana Road & Recreation Atlas


Idaho Road Atlas

idaho-road-atlas
Reviews
They have features other maps do not. A precision terrain base image correctly overlaid with road names, recreational points of interest, hiking trails, waterways, and border/boundary lines make these an ideal road-trip companion.

They’re incredibly detailed but still easy to read. Great for finding trails, canyons, and creeks to hike and fish.

The maps on each page overlap so you don’t get lost going from page to page, the maps have contour shading so you see mountains, valleys and ridges rather than having to interpret them through topographic lines, and the atlas overlaps border areas with neighboring states.

Benchmark s field-checked Landscape MapsTM now show ground-cover detail at a very high-resolution.

Benchmark Idaho Road & Recreation Atlas – 2nd edition (Benchmark Maps: Idaho)


Washington Road Atlas

washington-road-atlas
Reviews
The level of detail is perfect for any outdoors person. Shown are virtually every public campground, forest road, river, stream, and boat launch, and even towns with populations of 50 and less.

Categorized listings include campgrounds, RV Parks, Parks, Monuments, and natural wonders, museums and historic sites. Outdoor activity listings include fishing, boating, and hunting areas, river rafting and winter recreation.

Benchmark Washington Road & Recreation Atlas (Benchmark Map: Washington Road & Recreation Atlas)


Oregon Road Atlas

oregon-road-atlas
Reviews
It’s easy to see, at-a-glance, whether an area is forested, cultivated, marshland, desert, or scrub-land.

You know whether you will be turning onto a paved two-lane with painted median or a one-lane gravel road.

Benchmark Oregon Road & Recreation Atlas – 4th Edition



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