Anatomy of the Map

At Natural Atlas we are striving to build the best map of nature on the web. To do this, we have blended numerous datasets to produce a very detailed, complete map that can be used for planning any outdoor adventure.

Elevation Contours

Contour lines are a distinguishing feature of topographic maps. They quickly indicate elevation and slope of the land. Without contours you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a trail through a vast flat and a trail up a steep gully.

Tree Cover

When planning a hike, knowing when you will be in trees and when you’ll be out in the open is essential. Light green shapes on the map indicate where there are trees (when zoomed in).


Water is the lifeblood to both nature and many adventures  —  whether it be a fly fisherman casting his line into some remote creek or a photographer taking in the alpenglow on a glacier. When designing the map it was imperative to highlight as many water features as possible — from the smallest springs to the largest lakes.

Map Symbols

Campgrounds, picnic areas, and other recreation sites are shown on our map using NPS-style icons.

Clicking any icon or text on the map will bring you to an editable page where users can add descriptions, photos, and other local knowledge.

Coming Soon

The map is a continual work in progress — improving both the data and appearance. In the coming months, in addition to expanding to the entire continental US, we will be adding trail networks for National Forests and National Parks.


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