The HATs Mapping Project
At HATs we believe that a well planned hike includes a map. Maps allow every participant to be an independent hiker, not just a group follower. Our maps are mostly marked up base maps from sources such as Texas State Parks, the USGS, the National Parks Service, other land managers, or Google.
These maps also provide an inventory of hikes that anyone can make. Most have been hiked while some are for planning purposes but have not yet been scouted or hiked.
Maps, time and safety
Maps are made to be interpreted, not just to be followed. They are a two dimensional representation of four dimensional space. North and south are pretty ease to interpret and our maps are usually made with north up. Elevation is somewhat more difficult to interpret and often is not present on our maps.
Time is the most difficult aspect of any map to interpret. Maps are made at a point in time with information available when the map is made and may become outdated. Maps also do not include conditions that can dramatically affect hiking safety, such as time of day, trail conditions and changing weather.
Please remember that these maps, or any maps, are just suggestions on where to hike. One of the joys of hiking away from paved, groomed or fenced municipal parks is connecting with the natural environment. That joy includes personally learning how to manage with natural (or constructed) hazards. Even potentially life threatening hazards. Stay aware and stay safe.
Maps are mostly in JPG, KMZ and PDF formats. JPG is a standard image format, KMZ is a geolocated format that can be used on many Garmin GPS receivers and specialized phone apps. Most of our PDFs are geolocated and can be loaded into the Avenza Maps app. GPX tracks are usually available too.
The maps are mostly organised geographically, by watershed for Houston area day hikes with the exception of local favorite, Brazos Bend State Park, which is in its own folder. The Lone Star Hiking Trail has a special place. Out of town hikes are gathered regionally around Texas. Maps are free to download and use. They may be modified for re-publishing as long as credit for our work is given and any distribution of modified HATs maps is made under the same sharing agreement.
I welcome suggestions for new places to hike in Texas and how our maps might be made better for hikers.
Most of the hike routes in these maps have not been recently hiked. Some maps are for planning and we believe the routes are hikable, but they haven't been hiked by us. Contact the land manager for current conditions before traveling a long way only to be disappointed.