There is a lot of research and planning that goes into our trips regardless of where we are headed. One site cannot provide all the information needed and multiple sites should be referenced when trip planning. I compiled a list of our most used online references. In conjunction with these sources, we use a lot of physical maps and resources as well that cannot be reflected below. This should be referenced as a means to an end in your planning, but not a comprehensive guide.
REMINDER: GPS should only be used as an additional tool and not relied on for your main source of direction. Service in remote locations is typically spotty or unavailable while devices can lose power and fail to provide the safest route. I recommend having physical maps of the ranger districts and national forests for the most accurate navigation. Please assess your own risk management before heading out.
An accurate 7-Day Forecast from the National Weather Service. We use this website to look at the closest spot forecast to our destinations. It’s also a good way to narrow down destinations based on the current weather conditions.
An interactive map with current snow levels based on SNOTEL locations. A helpful resource for shoulder season exploration when snow conditions are unpredictable.
An interactive map that shows current wildfires and closure areas. The pacific northwest now has a known wildfire season and it’s good to be aware before traveling out into the forest.
Live feed from fire detection cameras in the region. A good source for checking the current conditions on particular summits.
An interactive map with all the road cameras in the state of Oregon. This is helpful for checking road conditions, especially in the shoulder season when snow conditions are unpredictable. Most states have some version of this that can be found online. Here are the ones I used for Washington and California as well.
An air quality map that shows how areas are effected by current fires and their smoke. Color indicates whether the air quality is good – green, moderate – yellow, unhealthy for sensitive groups – orange, unhealthy – red, very unhealthy – purple, or hazardous – burgundy.
Information on Leave No Trace principles and practices. A helpful reminder for how to recreate responsibly outdoors.
These sites are helpful in providing trail details (length, elevation, location) along with updated trip reports on route and road conditions.
These sites are good sources for history, locations, and directions to fire lookouts and former fire lookout sites.
Rex’s Forest Fire Lookout Page
Forest Fire Lookout Association
National Historic Lookout Register
Ron Kemnow’s Forest Lookouts Page