RED -Overprinted on primary and secondary roads to highlight them. Also used to denote surveying features that belong to the U.S. Public Land Survey.
BLACK -Manmade or cultural features
BLUE -Water-related features
BROWN -Contour lines and elevation numbers
GREEN -Vegetation features
WHITE -Sparse or no vegetation. Basically, white indicates any landscape feature except for trees or water - including desert, grass, sand, rocks, boulders, and so on.
PURPLE -Denotes revisions that have been made to a map using aerial photos. Such revisions have not been field-checked for accuracy.
Return to the Backpacking 101 home page.