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Cannot calculate trail distance, chunky trails

Original Post
Dakota S · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2018 · Points: 0

It is difficult/impossible to get an idea of how long the trail is going to be because of how oddly some of the trails are set up, a good example is the Red pine trail up to Pfeifferhorn there isnt an exact distance from the lake to the parking/trail head just from the fork from white pine trail. There is the same problem with the Maybird lakes trail, it only showes the distance to the fork and there is no real way to calculate the whole hike. Having info on how long the trail is from the fork is good but i think it should just be one trail from the parking to summit/lake/whatever with overlayed markers/tracks that note distance from parking to trail fork, trail fork to trail fork, and trail fork to Maybird lakes for example. And for Redpine/pfeifferhorn similarly, one trail all the way up from parking to the summit and some markers/trails overlayed that note the distances from parking to fork to fork to lake (plus lake loop distance) to peak. It would make it easier and in some cases possible to calculate a hike. I dont see the "out and back" trails useful, it's kind of annoying. I think it should be a personal feature that the user places, so we can calculate an out and back to any point on a trail or make our own loop with connecting trails. If Rei could do/ fix that stuff im sure people would be willing to pay a few bucks for the app. Having two different apps for trail running and hiking seems a bit pointless.

Liz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2017 · Points: 2,778

Hi Dakota,

Thanks for your feedback!

We like to show trails as they would appear on the land managers map rather then how people like to link them together (that's what the Featured Hikes help with); that way if someone wants to hike it a different way, they can use the maps to better find their way. However, I understand your frustration with not being able to calculate your own route distances by making personal routes. We are always working to make the projects better and appreciate feedback from users such as yourself, so thank you for taking the time to reach out!


Joan Pendleton · · Almaden Valley, San Jose, CA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 8,304

Hi Dakota,

What you want to do can be done with a little work.

On the website (not in the app), if you move your cursor over the trail profile (right below the map), you'll see a little hiker moving on the trail, and his mile mark on the trail is shown in a little popup on the profile where the cursor is.  So simply by moving the cursor on the profile, get the hiker to each trail junction of interest and note the mile mark of the trail junctions. Then do the appropriate subtractions to get the lengths of trail stretches of interest, and appropriate additions to add them all together for the complete hike.  

Actually, just tried it in the app (on Android), and it works too. Tiny difference - as you move your fingure over the profile, (instead of a little hiker moving on the trail) a little popup showing the mile mark moves on the trail.

Hope this helps.


PS i have found this *very* useful in planning hikes, especially longer backpacks that go on many trails. And then also doing climb and descent numbers to see how hard each day would be..... :>)

Bruce Hope · · Medford, OR · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 11,840

Hi Dakota,

As noted, the "Featured Hike" is a way on this site to link together different trails. This assumes that some one has shared a featured hike that links together the specific route/trails you want to follow (I'm surprised the popular Pfeifferhorn isn't a featured hike). Other sites (like AllTrails for example) let users put in the hike they did - regardless of what trails they followed. So, here again, you may be left wanting if they didn't do the exact hike you want to do. One work-around, as Joan suggests above, is to use the little hiker symbol and a little math. Another is to download gpx files from the Hiking Project for the trails your interested in and then use CalTopo (the mapping site I go to most often but there are others) to join them together into the hike you want. I do this because it allows me to benefit from the info on the Project, add trails not on the Project, add sections of cross-country travel, and add mileage and other waypoints as needed.


Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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