Waterfalls of Northeast Georgia and Upstate South Carolina


In coordination with Outdoor Paths Publishing, we have just released a new map covering waterfalls in Northeast Georgia and Upstate South Carolina.  This map covers over 85 waterfalls across the two states.  Included are GPS coordinates for each waterfall and trailhead as well as detailed driving and hiking directions to each waterfall.  The map covers the major National Forest, State Parks, Recreation Areas, Wild and Scenic River areas and Wilderness Areas.  Select trail information also included.



Areas of interest included in this map: 

  • Chattooga National Wild and Scenic River
  • Caesars Head State Park
  • Jones Gap State Park
  • Table Rock State Park
  • Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area
  • Jocassee Gorges Management Area
  • Sumter National Forest
  • Chattahoochee National Forest
  • Tallulah Gorge State Park
  • Cohutta Wilderness Map
Click on the low resolution sample below to review the map

NEW MAP! Tsali Recreation Area – our latest digital map for your iPhone

Great news! This week, we released our latest map for digital consumption on the iPhone (and soon Android devices).  This new map covers the Tsali Recreation Area in the Nantahala National Forest. Tsali is known as the ‘mecca’ for mountain bikers and horseback riders, but is also a popular area for hiking and camping.  Adjacent to Fontana Lake, Tsali Recreation Area has breathtaking views of the lake and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park just across the lake.

There are 42-miles of trails in 4 loops with an alternating use schedule to reduce user conflict.  A trail use schedule can be seen in the table below.  





Like all of our maps for your phone, the Tsali map caches on your phone so you do not need network coverage to use the map and GPS.

For information about our maps for your phone see here: http://pisgahmapcompany.com/mobile/

For a complete list of our maps available for the iPhone (and soon Android), see here: http://pisgahmapcompany.com/mobile/maps/


Asheville Area (and WNC) maps for your iPhone. Our Maps – Your Phone!

Exciting news from Pisgah Map Company, LLC! We have just released several of our maps and trail guides for digital distribution on the iPhone.  The trail guides are appropriate for mountain bikers, hikers, trail runners, hunters and anyone else getting out to explore the National Forest around Asheville, NC.  We want to stress, this is not a replacement for our paper trail guides but rather a supplement.  There is no replacement for a good hard copy map to assist in trip planning and to have in case (when) your phone has technical problems or the battery dies.

We are using a service from Avenza called PDF Maps.  You must first download the PDF Maps app and then you can search for our maps.   The app will cache the map on your phone and will work with GPS even when you do not have phone service.   If you are familiar with our paper maps, we split the South Pisgah Ranger District into 2 maps for digital distribution.  Bent Creek Experimental Forest is on one app while the rest of South Pisgah Ranger District is on another app.  The DuPont State Recreational Forest is also available as an app.  We have also created some individual ride and hike maps that appeal to folks who do not want a whole map and are looking for something with more information and directions about an individual ride or hike. 

Maps currently available:

  • South Pisgah Ranger District (Mills River, Turkey Pen, Davidson River Area, Shining Rock Wilderness)
  • Bent Creek Experimental Forest
  • DuPont State Recreational Forest
  • Over a dozen individual rides and hikes
  • More coming soon … so keep checking back

Detailed instructions here: http://pisgahmapcompany.com/mobile

** Currently, our maps are only available for the iPhone.  We expect the Android version to be completed by late April or early May.

** If you like our maps and trail guides, please help us spread the word! 

Squirrel Gap Trail via Turkey Pen – Mountain Biking

I was able to get out and ride one of my favorite trails – Squirrel Gap – in Pisgah National Forest a couple of weeks ago.  This trail can be accessed several ways but this time we chose to start at Turkey Pen.  Turkey Pen is a popular equestrian-use area so please remember to yield to all horses that you encounter on the trail.  I usually go a step farther than just yielding and get off my bike, take off my helmet and step off the trail.  Talking to the horse and rider can help calm the horses and builds good relationships between different trail users.

Squirrel Gap is a relatively remote and rugged trail deep in Pisgah National Forest.  To get to Squirrel Gap, there is some fun single-track to begin and then you must negotiate a demanding climb.  When you make it to the top, you are rewarded with a long traverse across several ridges and mountain tops on some beautiful single track.  The views from Squirrel Gap are some of the best in Pisgah so bring a camera.   After riding Squirrel Gap, you are sure to ensure the ride back down to Turkey Pen parking area.

I rode with my GPS and created a quick and easy Google Map to share here.  I”m having trouble getting the map to embed using the <iframe> tag so for now, I’ll just provide the hyperlink to the map and KML.


The route:  Turkey Pen Parking Lot > South Mills River trail > Cantrell Creek trail > Horse Cove trail > Squirrel Gap trail > Mullinax trail > South Mills River trail > parking area
Distance: 13.4 miles

If the terrain background layer does not display by default, make sure to turn it on to get a real sense of what Squirrel Gap is like.

One other note about Turkey Pen:  there are many river/stream crossings in Turkey Pen.  Some crossings have bridges but some do not.  We generally spend more time in Turkey Pen during the warmer months than in the winter. The ride described above utilizes stream crossings where there are bridges so it makes for a good winter ride.
View Squirrrl 12/11/2012 1:17pm in a larger map

New Map coming Spring 2013! Waterfalls of North Georgia and Upstate South Carolina

Waterfalls North GA and Upstate SC
Waterfalls North GA and Upstate SC – DRAFT

We here at Pisgah Map Company have been diligently working on our latest map that will be out in March of 2013.  This map covers the most popular waterfalls in North Georgia and Upstate South Carolina. We’ve been working on the map for over a year and we hope all of our hard work shows when this map is finally published.  People always ask what takes so long to make a custom map like this and while my response sometimes varies, an overview of the process is usually necessary.

We start every map with a series of meetings to decide on the map size and scale before we do anything else.  This may not seem like a big deal, but when you are mapping an area as big as a state with lots of supporting information like driving directions to trailheads, waterfall descriptions,  GPS coordinates for trailheads and waterfalls, you want to make certain the details are decided before beginning production.  In this case, we decided to let the actual map area span both sides of the map with tables of information on both sides as well.  That is vastly different than our Waterfalls of North Carolina map and influences the overall scale.  For instance, the new N. Ga and Upstate SC map scale will be approximately 1:100,o00 compared to 1:330,000 on the NC Waterfalls map. This allows for greater detail and therefore less inset maps.  Another important decision to be made early in the process is deciding on the spatial reference all data will be.

The next phase involves database design, data research and data collection.  With any GIS project, compiling available GIS data from resources such as state and federal organizations as well as private can save valuable time that would otherwise be spent creating the data.  In North Carolina, we are lucky to have many sources for GIS data including NCOneMap, NCDOT and many county GIS Departments. For this map, the United States Forest Service and Chattahoochee National Forest provides a lot data in the form of ESRI Shapefiles.  Compiling data, usually from the internet, comes with it’s own challenges however.  The data aquired from the internet often comes in may different data formats such as ESRI Shapefiles, KML, and GPX to mention a few.  Our workflow typically involves converting any GIS data formats to the ESRI Geodatabase for our work.  Other geoprocessing includes projecting all the data to a common spatial reference, merging data layers, clipping as well as any GIS analysis to prepare the data for mapping.  All editing of the GIS data is hopefully done at this time as well.

During this phase, we also conduct all the fieldwork for the map.  Filed work includes using a GPS (Global Positioning System) to collect all trailhead coordinates and many of the trails that lead to waterfalls.  Field notes are taken regarding driving directions, trail descriptions, waterfall descriptions and all other pertinent information.

While working on database design, data collection and compilation, we simultaneously come up with a set of styles to use as part of the cartographic design.  This includes map symbols, a set of fonts for natural and man-made features, and the colors to be used.  All of the design decisions are made but may be adjusted throughout the design process.

From there, we put it all together.  Most of our GIS work is done using ESRI ArcGIS (ArcMap and ArcCatalog) although we do use a complement of open source GIS packages like QGIS and MapWindow.  As GIS software evolves, so does our workflow.  We prefer to do most of the actual map design in ArcMap and then do the page layout using Adobe InDesign.  We do use Photoshop and Illustrator when necessary but find ESRI has become quite the cartographic design tool itself.

See our other recent work here –