Lesson Plan

Trail Mapping

Meriwether Lewis Site Trail Map
Meriwether Lewis site map with trails, Milepost 385.9

NPS Photo

Overall Rating

Add your review
Grade Level:
Fourth Grade-Sixth Grade
Geography, Health, History, Recreation / Leisure / Tourism, Social Studies
30 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 36
National/State Standards:
Social Studies: 3)Demonstrate the ability to use social studies tools 3a,3b,3c,3d,3e,3f,3h
geography, Trail map, measuring, mapping, Natchez Trace, Roads, boatmen, Kaintucks, natchez trace parkway, cartography, compass, cartographer, trail, trails


Explain to students that they will be mapping a trail in the forest using a map grid and compass.  Hand out the map grid worksheet.


Enduring Understanding: Geographers use tools like maps, globes, and compassess to gather and analyze data.

Essential Question: How can we make our own map? 

The students will be able to:

1) draw a map on a grid

2) use compass directions to properly orient map details

3) identify important reference points on trail

4) develop a legend key for the map


Explain to the students that early travelers on the Natchez Trace may have needed to make their own maps. Explain that they may have shared their homemade maps with friends.


1.) Compasses

2.) Beech Springs Trail grid map with partial legend

3.) Clipboard and pencil



Participation in the activity, creation of a map and follow up discussion.

Park Connections

Teaches students how to use a map of the park and find locations in the park.


1.) Post visit activities included in this curriculum.

2.) Take the students on a hike on a section of the National Scenic Trail and have them compare features of that trail with the one they mapped.


Cartographer, legend