Ever since I was a kid I loved to know where I was going on the road or in the woods. During my canine search and rescue days I was often the go-to mapping guru. I guess you could call me a “map geek!” So when I found out about Purple Lizard Maps I was pretty excited. We reached out to Michael Hermann, lead cartographer and founder of Purple Lizard Maps, and we teamed up to highlight his award-winning maps.
After using Michael’s maps on our recent trip to Bald Eagle State Forest, I can attest that his team has spent a vast number of hours exploring the areas they map–and their final products are awesome! The creators have carefully designed the maps to hold up to the rugged conditions of the outdoors, including printing them on a paper-like waterproof plastic material.
It is really hard to put into words how awesome these maps are in their level of detail and inclusion of just about anything that you would need to know to explore the mapped areas. I have used many different mapping products (paper, GPS, and online) and it is clear to me why Purple Lizard Maps have won awards. After you have read the rest of the post make sure to follow the link at the bottom to get a set of these great maps.
Michael helped us set up a day adventure in Pennsylvania’s Bald Eagle State Forest. We drove back roads, hiked trails, saw vistas, and checked out campsites. It was an awesome day and it was kind of like a scavenger hunt looking for the purple lizard markers on the map and then navigating to them.
Kristin did an awesome job navigating us to really neat places and vistas. (Looking for fall camping ideas? Some of these drives would be particularly spectacular as the leaves change.)
After driving some the state forest roads (boy did I wish I had the Subaru rather than the top-heavy van!) we hit the trail and hiked about 2/3 of the way to one of the purple lizard markers on the map. Unfortunately the little legs in our family were not able to make it to the top–but it was a beautiful hike and the kids want to try again in the future.
We also drove by some of the state forest campsites that were marked with tents on the Purple Lizard map. If you are looking for primitive camping, these would be awesome because they are free–all you have to do is call the state forest office and secure a permit (essentially making a reservation). I am definitely planning a return trip with my scouts or college friends to do some hiking in Bald Eagle State Forest and we will likely camp at one of these sites.
Michael also knew I typically like to do an early morning hike on at least one day of our camping trips and he pointed me toward Mt. Nittany just outside State College, Pa. Michael has partnered with the Mt. Nittany Conservacy to develop a map of the trail system on top of Mt. Nittany. After completing this hike, it ranks as one of my top five hikes and definitely my favorite Pennsylvania hike. With eight official (and one unofficial) overlooks this is a very rewarding 4.8 mile hike. The first .5 mile of the trail is EXTREMELY steep, rocky and challenging but once at the top the rolling ridge trail that circles the top of the mountain is awesome. I will let the pictures do the talking, but if you are ever in State College, Pa., and are able to make the first .5 mile of this hike, it should not be missed!
The Purple Lizard trail map for Mt. Nittany is available at the trail-head, but even if you miss picking one up, trail markers are printed with Michael’s maps to make awesome signage along the trail.
Want to learn more about Purple Lizard Maps? You can find a short bio and information about Purple Lizard Maps here. To go order your own set of these fun maps, head here. It’s not too early to start thinking about the perfect Christmas gifts for the outdoor enthusiasts in your life!