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    Mount Rainier

    National Park Washington

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Map Reading

A trail sign showing different mileages for different trails.
A Mount Rainier trail sign showing mileages for different trails.
NPS Photo
Overview: Students will be introduced to the basic skills necessary to read a map, specifically a topographic map, in a national park. Students will practice by orienting a map to magnetic north and/or true north. Students will also have the ability to practice land navigation around their school based on a course set up by the instructor.
Grade Level:
5 - 12
Objectives: Students will be able to:
  • Identify key elements on a topographic map including elevation lines, compass rose, trails, roads, and key features such as hills and valleys.
  • Orient a map to magnetic and true north.
  • Travel on a relatively flat course using a map of the school or local area.
Lesson Plan:
Map Reading - word, 41KB
Map Reading - pdf, 459KB
Resources: Map Reading Hints & Suggestions
Map Reading Setting the Course
Map Reading Teacher Planning Chart
Map Reading Student Answer Sheet

Did You Know?

A female volunteer works with park staff on revegetation project

In 2012, 1,804 volunteers contributed 74,615 hours of service to Mount Rainier National Park. Find out how you can volunteer at Mount Rainier. More...