Use the Roadless and Trailless Areas Overlays to Find Solitude at a Glance

Next time you need to get away from it all, really¬†get away with Gaia GPS’s new Roadless Areas overlay. Or, go even deeper with the Roadless and Trailless Areas overlay.

Maybe you’re looking for a high mountain stream that hasn’t been fished out, a piece of the whitetail season opener you can call your own, or backcountry water ice begging for a first ascent. Or maybe you’re just after deep-woods quiet and down-valley views uncrossed by asphalt.

Whatever the reason, use these overlays to leave the crowds behind. Apply the Roadless Areas overlay to your favorite base map to chart an on-trail course far from roads of any kind, and use Roadless and Trailless Areas overlay to find land trafficked only by wildlife.

How It Works

Based on trail and road data from the Gaia GPS Topo base map, the Roadless Areas Overlay uses gradient shading to indicate how far any given spot is from the nearest road, and the Roadless and Trailless Areas further bounds that data by limiting more darkly shaded areas to places that are far from footpaths as well.

How to Use It

Available for both iOS and Android users with Premium Memberships, and on, both the Roadless Areas overlay and the Roadless and Trailless Areas overlay can be viewed while connected to the internet or while you’re off the grid and out of service.

From the Map Sources menu, navigate to the Feature/Weather Overlays category. Add either the Roadless Areas overlay or the Roadless and Trailless Areas overlay atop your basemap of choice.

The transparency is completely adjustable, but starting with 100% opacity makes it easiest to visualize distances. At that setting, opaque orange indicates that an area is two miles or more from the nearest road and/or trail. Lighter orange shading indicates areas that are at least 0.25 mile or more from those features.

Then, reduce transparency to around 50% (as shown above) for the best visibility while route planning.

A Note on Off-Trail Hiking 

Before you venture off-trail, make sure you’re exploring on public land where off-trail hiking is permitted. Pro tip: Add the Public Land layer (in the Premium Overlays category of the Map Manager) for quick reference, and double-check regulations with your local land manager.

A Note on Safety

Use these maps to seek out your next dose of true wilderness, but use the same caution you would in any backcountry situation. The farther you wander from roads and trails, the more difficult it is to reach help in case of an emergency. Brush up on your first-aid and wilderness self-sufficiency skills before you head out, and consider taking an emergency communication device if you’re wandering deep into unknown terrain. No matter how far you want to go, Gaia GPS provides the maps to get there. It’s up to you, however, to get yourself out.