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Best USA topo maps?

Picking up a new Garmin 66i to use while hiking and I’m wondering if it’s worth purchasing the Garmin 24k topo maps or are the OSM ones just as good? Haven’t really been able to find any recent comparisons of the two.


  • Boyd 2043 Points
    edited February 2020
    The Garmin 24k topo maps have routable roads - which means they can calculate routes and give you turn by turn directions. They also have points of interest similar to City Navigator - things like gas stations, stores, etc. And they have 3d elevation data, which can produce shaded terrain. Most 3rd party maps don't have any of these things. Now, that is not a recommendation, because personally I don't much care for them and they are quite expensive. But you will have to judge this for yourself.

    Really, the simplest way to answer this is to just download some free maps and see if you like them. is a good source for free maps, but there can be a big variation in quality since they were made by different people, and some of them are rather old.

  • Appreciate it. I actually downloaded the OSM ones, but it’s tough to get a look at the Garmin ones since they’re paid only. Not too worried about searchable POI, more just looking for the most accurate trail maps possible.
  • Boyd 2043 Points
    The trails on the Garmin topo maps seem to vary considerably by location, I have seen a lot of complaints about the 24k Garmin topo. I have the Northeast US 24k topo and never liked it much, mainly because it's just ugly and can be hard to read. But I make my own maps and am particular about style. :)

    There's a map at GPSFileDepot called "MyTrails" that is popular, although I have never used it. But it's a transparent overlay that only includes trails, and you enable at the same time as another topo map. But this only works on the GPS itself, because Basecamp doesn't allow you to enable more than one map at the same time.
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