Access Points - Designated areas and passageways that allow the public to reach a trail from adjacent streets or community facilities.
Access Trail - A trail that connects the main trail to a road or another trail system.
Backcountry - Area where there are no maintained roads or permanent buildings, only primitive roads and trails.
Backpacking - A hike which extends to at least one overnight stay where the essentials (food, shelter, clothing, etc.) for that stay are packed.
Bivouac (Bivy) - An overnight stay with little or no shelter.
Bivouac Sack (Bivy Sack) - A lightweight and waterproof bag that covers a sleeping bag.
Blazes - A trail marker. May be in the form of colored tape, bark chipped in a pattern from a tree and painted, etc.
Bluff - A steep headland, riverbank, or cliff.
Bridleway (Bridle Path) - Designed and maintained primarily for equestrian use.
Cache - A supply of food, tools, etc., usually buried or hidden.
Cairn - A constructed mound of rock located adjacent to a trail used to mark the trail route.
Causeway - Elevated section of trail contained by rock, usually in permanent or seasonally wet areas.
Compass - A device with the purpose is indicating direction.
Contour Lines - Lines on a topographical map indicating elevation.
Day Pack - Smaller backpack used for day hikes to carry food, water, etc.
Ecosystem - A system formed by the interaction of living organisms with their environment.
Footpath - A right of way in which the public has access by foot only.
Giardia lamblia - Protozoan occurring in backcountry water sources that causes an intestinal illness.
GORP - "Good Ol' Raisins and Peanuts". A trail snack made with fruit, nuts, chocolate, etc.
GPS - Global Positioning System. By utilizing a device the size of a cell phone you're able to pinpoint your precise longitude, latitude and altitude (to an accuracy of about 30-200 feet.)
Habitat - An area that supports a plant or animal population because it supplies that organism's basic requirements of food, water, shelter, living space, and security.
Hike - A leisurely walk lasting one day or less.
Junction - Site where one trail meets another.
Leave No Trace (LNT) - Educational program designed to instill behaviors in the outdoors that leave minimum impact of human activities.
Moraine - A ridge or pile of boulders, stones, and other debris carried along and deposited by a glacier.
Orienteering - Using a map and compass to navigate between points along an unfamiliar course.
Outcrop - A rock formation that protrudes through the level of the surrounding soil.
Potable (Water) - Safe to drink from source without treating.
Ravine - Deep, narrow gouge in the Earth's surface, usually eroded by the flow of water.
Switchback - A sharp turn in a trail to reverse the direction of travel and to gain elevation with the intent of preventing or slowing erosion.
Topographical map - A map showing the shape and elevation of the Earth's surface through contour lines. Also has representations of streets, buildings, streams, woods, etc.
Trailhead - An access point to a long distance trail often accompanied by various public facilities.
Trek - A long-distance hike.
Run The Planet thanks BellaOnline's Hiking & Backpacking (www.bellaonline.com) for the permission to reprint the article "Glossary for Hikers and Backpackers" by Michelle Parks. Image copyright © by Run The Planet. Text copyright © 2000, 2001 BellaOnline, Inc. - All rights reserved.