Staying Found: On-Trail Navigation - 2024

Backpacking, Day Hiking & Navigation Course

Staying Found: On-Trail Navigation

This course is focused on learning and practicing key skills to maintain an ongoing awareness of where you are and how to find yourself if you get lost on even the most complicated trail system.

This course, tailored to on-trail adventurers, is designed to help students become confident reading a topographic map, using a compass and altimeter, and maintaining awareness of their location on a trail. Students will receive detailed information on skills and tools, as well as hands-on practice on the trail. Basic digital navigation instruction using Gaia will be included. Students must complete the following components to graduate from the class and receive an On-Trail Navigation badge:

  • The evening online instructional seminar on May 14, 6:30-9:00 p.m.  Register for the seminar. 
  • field trip on May 18 or May 19 at 9:00 a.m. held outdoors at Tiger Mountain State Forest. You will need to register for one field trip, which includes map and compass exercises, a trip planning exercise, and  a hike to apply the skills you have learned. 
  • The online Low Impact Recreation course (completed at your leisure).

An optional navigation hike to practice your navigation skills will be offered after the field trip. Date, time, and location will be announced by email after the field trips are completed.

Readings will be assigned from the Modern Wilderness Navigation pdf found in the course materials.

Additional Course Materials will be uploaded by March 10th.


  • Please sign up for one field trip only. If the field trip you would like is filled, select another.  Do not add yourself to the waitlist.
  • The options are Easy Peasy (easy), Swamp Foot (easy), Talus Rocks (moderate), and Great Adventure (moderate), from easiest to hardest. The routes are 3-5 miles with varying levels of elevation gain.
  • Each route will be offered at  9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
  • The field trip will take 5-6 hours. 

Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

Additional badges needed to graduate


Required Equipment

For the online seminar:

  • Baseplate Compass with adjustable declination (see  Mountaineers Information Sheet)
  • Green Trails Tiger Mountain map #204S

For the field trip:

  • Baseplate Compass with adjustable declination 
  • Green Trails Tiger Mountain map #204S
  • A 1-gallon ziplock bag to protect your map
  • Smartphone with GaiaGPS loaded
  • Whistle or other emergency communication device
  • Day Pack
  • Outdoor gear, including hiking shoes and rain gear  
  • Lunch, water, snacks
  • Course packet
  • Pen or pencil to take notes