MN, Giants Ridge – Side by Side

Giants Ridge recently replaced the trail maps that are located at various intersections of the Nordic Ski/Mountain bike trail area. The signs inform users of their location within this network. Encompassing close to 2600 forested acres of undulating terrain, it is not a good place to get lost or confused about how to return to where you started. While the physical maps were upgraded, the trail information was not. The maps do not accurately represent trail location and the intersections are not in proportion, meaning the visual distance between them does not represent real world distance.
I have carefully mapped all of the nordic trails using GPS breadcrumbs and then checked that data against high resolution aerial imagery. The results are surprising. The trail maps sometimes bear little resemblance to what is actually on the ground as can be seen by comparing the loop on the Gold trail below intersection #24. You can see all the differences below in the side by side comparison I created of my Nordic Gold trail map overlapped with the one from Giants Ridge. To make this work, I had to warp the trail map in order to better align the trail intersections.

In addition to accurate trail locations the map includes hillshade, a type of shading that allows terrain to be visualized. It makes sense to include it on a map where the trails traverse the back side of a downhill ski slope. I have also included an elevation profile of the Gold trail showing the elevation at each intersection and the overall slope. One other feature not included on the Giants Ridge map is chainage, or the distance along the trail. I have marked every 1/2 kilometer starting at intersection #2 where the Gold trail begins.

Nordic ski trails are not drawn to scale so the image was warped the for a better fit.
Gold trail close up. Compare the loop below #24
A wider view of the nordic trails. Notice the terrain beneath Silver.

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