Before I hiked it the first time, I made my own maps. After I hiked it the second time, I had quite a few corrections to my own maps, and tips to share for people wanting to hike it.
Whereas this is a difficult route as far as way-finding and sometimes terrain go, I think people can make it a whole lot more difficult for themselves if they are following the wrong track. I have done this, and imagine if one chose the wrong track over and over, they might decide the Hayduke is super tough. It’s not. There is trail nearly the entire way.
Yep. Trail nearly the entire way. When you are not walking roads or washes, you are either walking trail or desire path (wikipedia definition). If you keep your eyes peeled and think outside the box (try thinking like a cow), you will find these paths everywhere. They are often elegant and nearly always expeditious. This year when I hiked the Hayduke, I was six sections in before I found my first true “bushwhack.” (This is of course because selective amnesia allows me to forget Saddle Canyon.) Yes, the trail goes STRAIGHT UP and STRAIGHT DOWN sometimes, but it is still a cut path.
I think what thru-hikers are used to is buff trail such as what you find on the Pacific Crest Trail. When the trail gets difficult to see or follow, I think they decide it doesn’t exist.
So, here it is, my desire path:
Clicky-click the red button!
In my “humble” opinion, it is the most powerful Hayduke map in existence, and it is FREE. I made you a free Hayduke Trail map because I want to help folks stay on the trail and reduce erosion. DORK ALERT!
What is great about having it on Caltopo is it is very customizable and can be edited to suit your needs. In 2016 and 2017 used Caltopo to create custom PDFs for my hike and sent them to Kinkos for printing (tabloid size paper, 24lb weight was fine). Just use the Caltopo “Print” button to start setting up map pages. For the road walk sections, my maps were 1:40,000+ and for more technical sections I used ~1:20,000.
This Hayduke map has been a work in progress. I’m still working through data gathered over four months ON THE HAYDUKE. Please contact me with concerns or edits.
I strongly recommend you learn how to use Caltopo, as well as learning map and compass, and printing/carrying paper maps. It may look very complicated and overburdened with waypoints, but you can turn all that off by deselecting folders at the left of the screen. Here is an image of how “notes” are disabled for sections 1,2,3,4 but not 5:
There are folders for specific alts, for towns/resupply, for packrafting, etc. The waypoints are full of more tips, and include data like where you can get WATER and cell phone coverage, bathrooms, and trash disposal. Crucial!
Here is what the map looks when stripped down, with just the towns shown for spatial reference:
Most importantly, I tried to get the track on track. I corrected it in several places where the original Hayduke Book and/or Skurka’s fast-packed track were either off-target or didn’t provide enough detail. This map also doesn’t include “shortcut-type” alternates that go through cryptobiotic soil fields (wikipedia definition). One major such offender is the “Slickrock alt” in Arches in section 1. When this GPX alternate starts to create braided trail through crypto in a NATIONAL PARK, I’m sure the Haydukers will start to earn a very bad name. Don’t do it, Courthouse Wash is beautiful and fun. If you cannot handle Courthouse Wash, I would say you’re not ready for the Hayduke.
And guys, shortcuts are NOT alternates. They’re just shortcuts. Don’t publish them, we can figure them out, too.
I never found the Hayduke to be as difficult as some people suggested. Once you give up on the idea of finding maintained trails with signage and cairns and blazes, you start looking for animal tracks and signs of humans who have come before you. You don’t mind following cattle paths; in fact, you realize cattle are brilliant trail builders.
The Hayduke has enough traffic that it is almost officially a trail, and no longer just a route. I hope that careful maps can help to keep people on the trail so that it becomes permanent. I debated whether to share this as a GPX/KML (Caltopo allows for export) or not. Poorly plotted (estimated) tracks can lead to severe erosion and braided trail. But I feel like my maps are now spot-on enough to share this way; they will lead people back onto track.
If you need help making customized maps based off my Caltopo map, please consult Google before writing to me. Unless you have re$ources to compensate me for my time, I am largely unavailable for this type of help. If you do have re$ources and need mapsets — or heck, even a trail guide — I’m your woman. I don’t mean to sound rude, but I really value my time. I spend it hiking.