Hayduke Trail Hiking Resources Bundle


The Bundle contains four critical resources if you plan to hike all or parts of the Hayduke Trail: a Handbook, Databook, Water Chart, and Mapset. It is a compliment to, not a supplement for, the HDT guidebook.


Table of Contents

Download Instructions

This digital product is available via electronic download. Instructions:

  1. Complete and pay for your order.
  2. Check your email. Open the order confirmation email from me.
  3. To start your download, click the customer-specific download link. This link will expire in 48 hours; if you ever need it renewed, email [email protected].

The download file is 1.03 GB in size. It is recommended that you have a moderately fast, reliable internet connection before attempting the download.

If your internet connection is unreliable or excessively slow, and therefore you need to be mailed a CD or DVD with the data, please forward your receipt to [email protected] with a mailing address.


The Hayduke Trail (HDT) is one of the finest ways in which to discover the Colorado Plateau, the sparsely populated high-desert region of southern Utah and northern Arizona from which HUMMER must have borrowed the tagline, “Like nothing else.” It is a remote, rugged, and untamed land where one can really get away from it all, which isn’t easy nowadays in the Lower 48. The HDT is a very challenging hike, suitable only for hikers who have the proper backcountry skills and experience to allow them a safe and successful journey.

In addition to the inherent physical challenges of the trail, until now HDT hikers have also been challenged by an extensive pre-trip planning effort. There is a guidebook, The Hayduke Trail: A Guide to the Backcountry Hiking Trail on the Colorado Plateau, but it alone does not provide all of the information needed to go hike the route — hikers still needed to acquire topographical maps, research resupply points, determine where and how to obtain backcountry permits, find transportation to the termini, etc. I believe that undergoing this planning process makes the trip both more educational and more rewarding, though I also recognize that it can be a considerable hindrance and that it may cause some hikers to ultimately go elsewhere (or not go at all) if they do not have the time or know-how to prepare.

Purpose of the HDT Hiking Resources Bundle

My purpose in developing the Bundle was to offer a one-stop-shop for all of the critical information that is not provided by the guidebook or by other means. My hope is that the Bundle will make it easier for more hikers to experience this amazing region for themselves by reducing the time, energy, and expense that it takes to plan an HDT hike. Note that the Bundle is meant to serve as a complement to, not as a supplement for, the guidebook, which remains an essential on-trail resource and which is very helpful in pre-trip planning.

Targeted Audience

The Bundle was developed primarily for members of the long-distance hiking community. In fact, the materials I put together in advance of my own HDT thru-hike in February/March 2009 are at the roots of this package. Thus, I’ve included some content that will be of most value to thru-hikers, including where to resupply, which direction to hike (east or west), and how to reach the termini.

But the Bundle also contains resources that are invaluable to any HDT hiker, regardless of the length of their hike. Specifically, the Bundle contains: guidebook updates, clarifications, and corrections; backcountry permit information; the status of and distances between water sources; and more.

Limitations of the Bundle

An aspiring HDT hiker who has the guidebook, the Bundle, and the proper backcountry skills is well on their way to a successful hike. However, I do not recommend that hikers “wing it” on the Hayduke Trail. This approach works on the Appalachian Trail and sometimes on the Continental Divide Trail too, but the Hayduke Trail really does require some forethought. At a minimum, before you leave I would recommend that you identify your resupply points, determine which alternate routes you will take (if any), and calculate how much water capacity you need based on your personal rate of water consumption and on the historical availability of water along the section(s) you are doing. Personally, I’m not sure I could ever limit my planning to just these three things — for example, I send maildrops, weigh every piece of gear, and set a daily caloric intake goal — but I understand there are some differing styles and preferences on this issue.


I owe tremendous gratitude to a handful of other hikers who helped me improve the accuracy, extensiveness, and helpfulness of the Bundle. Particularly: Li Brannfors, Ryan Choi, Fred Gaudet, and Anitra (“NITRO”) Kass, Joe Mitchell, and Dave Snowberg & Michelle Dodd. In numerous places throughout the Bundle I integrated their own observations and recollections of the route, which helped to offer a more diverse and accurate point of view.

A Work in Progress

The Bundle represents my best effort to make the HDT more hiker-friendly. But I’m sure that some fraction of the information in the Bundle will prove inaccurate or outdated — hopefully never disastrous — and I therefore view the Bundle as being a constant work in progress. I welcome and encourage Bundle users to submit feedback, corrections, updates, etc. Until I develop a better process, please submit your comments via email to askurka at comcast.net. Please be sure to include detailed information so that I can determine exactly where your feedback applies. Thanks.

Distribution & Copyright

Developing the Bundle and making it available for purchase has been very time-consuming, yet I sell it for a very nominal amount — the hourly wage on it is pretty awful. Please respect my effort in developing the Bundle by NOT distributing its contents freely — please refer those interested in the Bundle to my website so that they can purchase their own copy. Before making the Bundle available for purchase I recognized that I was creating a greater opportunity for illegal copying by offering it as digital media. But I did it anyway because I believe that the Bundle is more useful and powerful if it’s distributed on a DVD than as a stack of paper. Thanks in advance for your recognition of my efforts and objectives, and for your cooperation.

The mapset was created using National Geographic’s TOPO! map software, which is a powerful program and one that I highly recommended. As the author of the maps I own the copyright to them, and National Geographic has granted me an Extended User License so that they can be distributed.

Components of the Bundle

The Bundle has four parts: a Handbook, Databook, Water Chart, and Mapset, all described below in more detail.

Handbook. This document is broken into three sections: “Part A — Before You Go,” “Part B — As You Go,” and “Part C — As You Go, If You Want.”

Part A includes information about:

  • HDT resources: the guidebook and website, and hiker websites;
  • Skills that HDT hikers should have, and how the experience compares to other long-distance hikes;
  • Thru-hiking considerations, including how long the trip should take, which direction to go, when to go, and where to resupply;
  • Reaching and returning from the HDT’s eastern and western termini, and some mid-route access points;

Part B includes information about:

  • The guidebook-described route: updates, clarifications, and corrections to it;
  • Backcountry permits: where they are needed and how to obtain one
  • Resupply points: where they are, what will be found there, and maildrop instructions
  • Alternate routes: descriptions and mileage data

Part C includes contextual information — mostly history, culture, public policy, and natural sciences — about the Colorado Plateau.

Databook. This barebones spreadsheet of key landmarks and distances is a quick-reference guide to help in dead-reckoning, calculating pace, and planning one’s day and resupplies. It can also be plugged into a more extensive planning file.

Water Chart. The Colorado Plateau is a high desert and water sometimes seems like it is worth its weight in gold. This chart lists all prospective water sources on or near the route, plus the distances between them, historical observations, collective reliability, and more. Below is an image of the first few water sources included in the Water Chart.

Mapset. Topographical maps for the entire HDT, plus some alternates, are included with the Bundle. These maps were made with National Geographic TOPO! software, which uses the authoritative USGS topographical maps for base data.

The mapset is designed to be printed on 11×17 paper, which I have found to be the optimal map paper size — it shows a large area (or “map window”) and is very field-friendly. I think that 8.5×11 sheets show too little of an area, and larger sizes (like 22″x36″) are not field-friendly and they are disproportionately expensive.

The mapset contains two sets of maps: one technical set for navigation, based on the USGS 7.5-minute quads; and one overview set, based on the USGS 30×60 minute maps. When printed on 11×17 paper with .75-inch margins, the scale of the 7.5-minute maps is 1:30,000 and the scale of the 30- x 60-minute maps is 1;125,000. When printed on 8.5×11 paper with .4-inch margins, the scales increase to 1:40,000 and 1:168,000, respectively.

The maps are presented in two ways: (1) as individual JPG images, which can be viewed and printed individually; and (2) bundled as print-ready PDF and Microsoft Word (.docx) files. There are 16 bulk files total — 8 Word files and 8 corresponding PDF files. Of those 8, 4 are formatted for 11×17 paper and 4 are formatted for 8.5×11 paper. Of those 4, there is one mapset with all of the 30- x 60-minute overview maps, another mapset with the 7.5-minute maps for Sections 1-7, another mapset with 7.5-minute maps for Sections 8-14, and finally one last mapset with 7.5-minute maps for the Alternate Routes.

Mapset Detail

The maps were developed using National Geographic’s TOPO! mapping software in conjunction with the HDT guidebook. Because the HDT is often a route, not a definitive trail, your actual path therefore needs to be in response to what you see on the ground, not what may be drawn on the map. I mostly opted to NOT draw a continuous line from Arches to Zion, which I feared would indicate, “The HDT goes –here–.” Instead, the route is marked with a series of symbols: red diamonds indicate off-trail routes; red circles indicate on-trail segments; yellow stars indicate the starting/ending points of the chapters; etc. By using symbols instead of lines, minimal topographical data was lost, since there is no thick red line running consistently across the map.

On occasion I did add a thin dashed line to the maps, as a way to say, “The route goes exactly –here–.” This was only done when: pinpoint navigation is necessary (e.g., there’s just one way in/out of a canyon, and the dashed red line is it), and/or when the route wouldn’t be visually obvious (e.g. hidden cliff bands, obscure chutes/chimneys, etc.), and/or when it is helpful to have the map correlate precisely with the guidebook description.

All of the maps are overlaid, i.e. two adjacent maps share at least one common reference point, like a red diamond or a geographic place name (“Lake Powell”). This makes it easier to align them in the field.

Included Source Files

To maximize the versatility and applicability of the Bundle, I have included many of the original source files with which the Bundle was developed. By including the source files I have given hikers the flexibility to tailor the resources to their situation — like if, for example, a hiker wants to try a new alternate route, they can plug the route’s mileage data into the Databook’s Excel file in order to determine how that changes their schedule and their trip’s total mileage. Most HDT thru-hikers do not follow the guidebook route precisely and I want to ensure that the Bundle can be customized accordingly; if I offered it just as a stack of printed paper, portions of the Bundle would be made obsolete by these customizations. Below is a specific list of sources files that are included:

Each section of the Handbook (Parts A, B, and C) is provided as a PDF and a Microsoft Word file (.docx).

The worksheets for the Databook, Alternate Routes, Water Chart, and Resupply Points are combined into one Microsoft Excel file (.xlsx) and printed out individually as PDF files.

The maps are presented as individual JPG image and bundled together in PDF and Microsoft Word files (.docx). See the “Mapset” section in the Components of the Bundletopic for more information.

The National Geographic TOPO! file (.tpo) with which the maps were made is also included. To access this file you need a license to the Arizona and/or Utah state series.


Mapset. You have two options: (1) print them at home using your home printer, or (2) have them printed by a professional printing company.

Most home printers are consumer-grade inkjet printers. I have never been pleased with the results: the printers are slow; fine detail is often lost; the ink is prone to bleeding and smudging, especially if/when the maps get wet; it’s not significantly more cost effective because of the high cost of ink cartridges and high-grade paper; and most home printers do not print double-sided, which means you must sit by it while it’s printing in order to keep feeding it. Moreover, the Bundle maps are designed to be printed on 11×17 paper, which most home printers cannot accommodate.

My strong personal preference is to have my maps printed professionally. In Boulder, CO, I use MinuteMan Press and in Bozeman, MT, I use Speedy Print— if you can find a comparable printer in your area I’m sure you will also be happy with the results. Having your maps professional printed ensures that the fine topographic detail is preserved and that the maps are resistant to bleeding/smudging and flaking (because they’ll use a color laser printer). The process is very efficient — I upload the file(s) to the printing company’s website and pick them up a few days later. And the cost is very reasonable — it might be a little more expensive than if I did it at home, but the end product is much better and it took much less time.

When I submit the files to the printer, I give them specific instructions: “11×17 paper, color, and double-sided. Use a standard paper stock, but please make sure that it has a printable surface on both sides.”

The maps are designed to be printed on 11×17 paper with .75-inch margins. After these margins are trimmed off (Go Gram Weenies!) and the map is folded in half, both lengthwise and widthwise, the map will fit perfectly into a quart-sized freezer bag, which is my preferred “map sleeve” — they work well, are cheap, and can be used for other purposes after they get too scratched up to read through.

If you do not have a home printer that cannot handle 11×17 paper, and if you don’t want to send maps off to a commercial printer, you can still print the maps on 8.5×11 paper. Particularly if you are planning to hike just a short section of the HDT (a few map’s worth of miles), you may find yourself in this situation. Printing the maps on 8.5×11 paper is possible but not optimal:

1. Because of the difference in the width/height ratio between 8.5×11 and 11×17 paper, the map will not fill an entire sheet of 8.5×11 paper — there will be wide side margins, about 1.75″ on the left and right side.

2. The scale of the 30- x 60-minute maps increases to about 1:168,000 and the scale of the 7.5-minute maps increases to about 1:40,000, when printed with .4-inch borders. These scales are at the upper limits of by how much maps can be “squeezed” without losing legibility and therefore functionality.

Files other than the mapset. The remaining components of the Bundle can be printed at home with good results. Unlike the maps, the Handbook, Water Chart, and Databook are all meant to be printed on 8.5×11 paper. Part A and C of the Handbook have 1-inch margins. Part B of the Handbook and the Databook are both designed for field use and will fit perfectly in a quart-sized freezer bag (6.5″x7″) after the margins are trimmed off. The Water Chart has .4-inch margins, is oriented as a landscape, and fills the entire sheet.

GPS Compatibility

I do not recommend using a GPS for the Hayduke Trail or for most other backcountry travels. There are some serious downsides to them: they are heavy, they are electronic and therefore subject to failure, and they have a finite power supply (batteries). Moreover, I do not feel that a GPS unit is necessary: a topographical mapset (and maybe a compass) should be perfectly adequate for navigating the Hayduke Trail. The Colorado Plateau is very featured (topographically) and very open (visually), so an HDT hiker should always be able to know where they are if they are following their progress on the map by identifying their ever-changing location with respect to the locations of nearby, passing landmarks. Finally, using a GPS partially undermines the adventurous origins of the HDT and also hinders the development of off-trail route-finding skills. The HDT is not supposed to be a prescribed experience that is simply handed to you, and a GPS interferes with that intention. That said, I understand that some HDT hikers will want to carry a GPS — hopefully just as a back-up measure — and some will have questions about the compatibility of their GPS unit with the Bundle, so I decided to include this section.

As is, the Bundle is not purposely designed to be compatible with a GPS. You won’t find one waypoint listed in the Handbook, Water Chart, or Databook. The route in the Mapset is not based on a GPS track log; instead, it was drawn onto the maps based on the guidebook’s description and maps, and on my recollection of the route. And the maps do not feature waypoints for any landmarks (e.g. junctions, pour-offs, descent paths, etc.). The one conciliation I have made to GPS users is including a UTM grid on the 7.5-minute maps (not on the 30- x 60-minute maps though) — so if you know how to play “Battleship” with your GPS and the map’s coordinates, you can figure out roughly where you are, though the exactness will be limited by the 1:30,000 scale of the map.

There are some ways to make the Bundle more GPS-friendly on your own. For example, you can manually create a list of important waypoints using the coordinates on the maps. Or, to expedite that process, by using the free GPS Babel software you can convert the original mapset file (.tpo) into a GPS Exchange Format (.gpx), Google Earth (.kml), or other file types. If you own a National Geographic TOPO! license for Arizona and/or Utah, there are a few more things you can do. For example, you can add waypoints to the maps (using the Waypoint tool) and then reprint the maps; and/or you can create a list of waypoints by getting the location of various symbols; and/or you can generate a track log for the “tricky” sections that are identified with a dashed red line.

System Requirements

You need Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free software that allows you to view PDF documents.

To edit Microsoft Office files (e.g. Excel and Word) you will need Office 2007. If you are running an older version of Office, you will need to download the Microsoft Compatibility Pack so that you can open the .docx and .xlsx documents.

Liability Waiver

I wish I could just say, “Don’t be an idiot. And take responsibility for your own judgment and actions,” but that probably won’t pass muster in a court of law. Of course, you also can’t get blood out of a rock. But anyway…

In the Bundle I have tried to provide accurate and honest information about the HDT so that hikers can attempt the route with greater confidence and understanding. Undoubtedly, however, some of this information will prove inaccurate — water tables change, rock slides happen, weather is unpredictable, etc. — and the end-user cannot hold me, the author Andrew Skurka, liable for resulting harm. Also, the Bundle is not a foolproof “ticket to success” — just because you read it, printed it out, and carried it, you are not immune to the inherent dangers and risks of the HDT and the Colorado Plateau. Every end-user must determine for themselves whether they have adequate backcountry skills, strength, and judgment for the HDT. By virtue of selling the end-user the Bundle, I am not supporting your endeavor, suggesting you are qualified, or guaranteeing your success and/or safety. You cannot hold me liable for anything that happens on the HDT. The Bundle’s content is presented “as is” — do not extrapolate any meaning into your situation and context.

Free Sections of the Bundle Handbook

Part B and C of the Bundle include content that is in the public domain, i.e. it is free to copy and it must be freely shared (no profiting). Specifically, Part B includes copied information from the National Park Service website (www.nps.gov): descriptions of trails in Grand Canyon National Park that are used by the HDT. And Part C consists solely of copied content from the National Park Service and Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org): information about the HDT corridor’s history, culture, public policy issues, and natural sciences. The copied content is always cited with at least a reference to the organization from where the content was copied; a link is often included too.

In order to ensure that I am not profiting from this content, I am making it available for free below. Why would anyone buy the Bundle for this content when they can download the content for free, right? The only reason to buy the Bundle is because it contains other valuable content, not because it contains this content from the public domain. The information in these documents is useful for anyone who wants an education about the Colorado Plateau and/or who wants a compiled description of some of the trails in the Grand Canyon.

Download: Grand Canyon Trail Descriptions

Download: Handbook — Part C — “As You Go, If You Want”

Interim Updates

HDT hikers occasionally send me updates and corrections to the Bundle. Ultimately I would like to integrate this information into the core documents, but it has not yet happened. As an interim solution, I have compiled most of these updates into a single document. Download it. Also, download Brian Tanzman’s water notes.


  1. Jennifer Zuber (“Spiderwoman”), PCT and SHR hiker

    I’m a repeat customer — Skurka’s SHR Mapset was the key to making that thru-hike a success. Now I’m planning my HDT thru-hike and his HDT Bundle will again be the most important data I carry. His maps are my primary navigation tool; the official guidebooks are supplements. For helping me ‘stay found’ while accessing remote and stunningly beautiful places, Skurka has my deepest gratitude.

  2. Benjamin Mayberry, HDT thru-hiker

    Pre-Trip: I knew I wanted to hike the Hayduke Trail even when I did not know much about it. But what I had heard was a bit intimidating. After I got my hands on the Bundle and looked over its various resources, my confidence went up about 1000%. Thanks for creating the Bundle — it looks like a terrific resource and I’m sure it will prove to be invaluable in the field.

    Post-Trip: During my hike along the Hayduke Trail, the Resources Bundle proved to be invaluable on a daily basis. The detailed and accurate maps were my constant companion while hiking and the supplemental resources (databook, alternate routes, water chart, and handbook) provided me with all the extra information I could ask for. For anyone considering a hike along the HDT, whether it be for a single section or the whole route, the Bundle should be your primary resource in planning and executing your trip.

  3. Peter Sustr, future HDT thru-hiker

    The Hayduke Bundle by Andrew Skurka has been a great resource for me while planning my thru hike. With detailed information regarding water sources, mail drops, alternative routes and ready to print maps, every potential hiker should use this set; It will save you time and money.

  4. Dave Snowberg, HDT thru-hiker

    Thru-hiking the Hayduke Trail in spring 2009 was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The HDT Hiking Resources Bundle was not available while we were planning our trip, but it sure would have made our planning much easier. I would highly recommend it to anyone planning to hike the Hayduke Trail because you will spend less time planning and have a better time hiking.

  5. Andy

    I’ve used a number of guidebooks and planning resources through the years and am very impressed with Skurka’s attention to detail and the layout of the information. He has saved me months of research and, honestly, even then I wouldn’t have had as much information at the ready than what he has presented in this bundle. Excellent.

  6. d=rt

    Skurka, I probably wouldn’t have even attempted the trail, at least for a couple years, without the beta in your bundle. Your information was generally so spot on that I rarely recorded updates. I expected mistakes but they never materialized. Almost all of the water information even seemed accurate, though your reliability scale was very conservative for our 3/21/12 – 5/6/12 trip. The maps were awesome. We printed them on 8 x 11.5″ paper and only once wished for larger maps. The format of your water chart was great. Great job! Thank you very much.

    • Andrew Skurka

      Even though the maps might be good enough for some sections when printed on 8.5×11, I would still recommend using 11×17. Maybe when I update the Bundle I will use different scales depending on the complexity of the terrain.

  7. Dogwood

    I used your SHR mapset for that thru-hike which I so appreciated for: 1) the way it was organized(larger overview maps and the smaller pic topos all in appropriate scale and detail for map and compass navigation which I also mostly do as you, intelligently organized overall too! 2) easily printed(and manipulated) 3) without trail lines running all over the place suggesting the trail goes here(100% agree it allows for more of an individual adventure) 4) the price($), as you accurately stated for what you get it is phenomenally inexpensive especially compared to what could be spent in money and time locating and getting all the maps yourself

    It sounded like your HDT Bundle was put together largely with the same characteristics. After having recently seen your HDT Mapsets/Bundle that assumption was correct. Another well done product at another IMHO ridiculously inexpensive price. It’s what I’ve come to expect from you. I wish I had your HDT mapset bundle when I thru-hiked the HDT. It wasn’t yet available. I think you did the the HDT a yr or two after me.

    Your HDT mapset brings this phenomenal route(w/ so many potentially additional worthy side trips) more into the mainstream hiking community.

    Well done and highly recommended HDT resource. Similar to your SHR mapset.

    I have to offer this compliment as well. I think it ties in with this review and your mindset I notice. You’re a “thinking” hiker having a very grounded well organized logical sense. But, as your last reply indicates you’re always working on doing “it” better always evolving always open to improvement. I really like that about you as it also applies to everything you do, including your mapsets. Two thumbs up.

  8. Lucas (verified owner)

    I relied solely on Skurka’s Hayduke Trail Bundle and Mitchell and Coronella’s Hayduke Trail Guidebook for my 2018 thru-hike. Despite the fact the bundle was created in 2009, it still was updated with reliable information. The water chart was as accurate as I could have reasonably expected considering my hike was in the fall, and the water data is largely sourced from late winter/ early spring reports. I appreciated that navigation points were utilized instead of lines on the maps except for on the particular routes with difficult wayfinding. It made for a much more engaging and fulfilling hike. I would definitely recommend this resource to anyone who’s attempting to thru-hike the Hayduke.

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