Beartooth Publishing makes topographic trail maps designed for outdoors addicts
Founded in 1995, Beartooth Publishing’s mission has always been to make some of the world’s best maps. Achieving that goal gets closer every year, but there’s always more work to be done.
Small, craft mapping companies like Beartooth Publishing are the ones who push the evolution of printed map cartography. Every week we re-tweak a color, change a line width by 0.002 inch, change a font by 0.5 point, or whatever else it takes to make a map more attractive. These small changes are not noticeable by themselves, but added up over a few years they create improved and superior cartography.
Art is important, but making good maps also requires knowing the map’s area. It is possible to make a recreational map of an area you’ve never been to, but in the end, that approach is evident in the accuracy and detail. When making a new map, we typically begin by driving around the area in a car for several days. You can learn a lot just from the car; we’ve even found developed campsites which are not on any other map. Then there’s trail surveying work to do. Hiking and mountain biking are part of the job. After the field work is as complete as possible, we visit with local U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service land managers, as well as local outdoor stores, and incorporate their comments and edits into the map.
When describing the job to people, the most common question we get is “Haven’t all the maps been made?” Pretty much, yeah. But all the cars were made by 1970. You can always make something better than it was before. We believe a map should be accurate, but also beautiful enough to compel the reader to fantasize about their upcoming adventures.
All of Beartooth Publishing’s maps are printed on waterproof, tear resistant plastic. They are made in Bozeman, Montana and printed in Denver, Colorado.