Meet Purple Lizard

The Best Adventures Start Here

Welcome to Purple Lizard, where we create exceptionally designed, durable, and highly detailed outdoor recreation maps for enthusiasts who love to explore. Our mission is to provide you with the best maps for your adventures, ensuring you discover beautiful backroads, trails, scenic vistas, and amazing landscapes in some of the finest outdoor destinations.

Discover the Purple Lizard Difference

Our maps are crafted with a deep respect for nature and are recognized as industry-leading, award winning tools that enhance your outdoor experiences.

We dedicate thousands of hours to blending traditional cartographic research with cutting-edge digital design technology, resulting in maps that are beautifully designed, up-to-date, and easy to read.

What Makes Lizard Maps Special

The Intensive Lizard Mapmaking Process

Our unique, intensive process blends all the best elements of old world map making - artistry, on the ground research, and attention to detail, with all the benefits of leading edge digital cartographic design.  

Award-Winning Cartography

Led by renowned cartographer Michael Hermann, our team combines old-world artistry and real world on the ground field research with modern digital design, creating exceptional, durable, waterproof, and incredibly user friendly maps. Our maps regularly earn national and international awards from our peers in the industry.

          Read: Trailblazing Cartography: Purple Lizard Earns Top Industry Honors

Adventure Proof, Durable, Best in Class

Lizard Maps are durable, waterproof, and easy to read - making them the best in class choice for all your best outdoor adventures. Don't take our word for it - check out what our customers say. or follow the Lizard Maps community advetures on Purple Lizard on Instagramand Facebook.

Connection and Respect for Place

Because we make real maps and need all the ground-truthing and the unique level of detail and local knowledge that  an exceptional map requires, our customers get an opportunity to really explore the forest and communities we map in a way that creates the opportunity to form a deeper connection to place. 

Overlook: Real World Mapping

We care about the communities and the landscapes, and that care comes through in Purple Lizard Maps. It is is reflected how we do our work, the details we provide, the people involved in the process and the values we hold.

Where We Map

Purple Lizard originated in Central Pennsylvania but has expanded to cover the exceptional outdoor recreation areas in the Appalachian and Allegheny Mountain ranges. Check out our latest locator map (a map of where we map) here.

More About Our Process 

cartographer at work

Purple Lizard is one the few map publishers that actually goes out into the real world, driving the roads, finding the trailheads and consulting with local communities and land managers - all so you can have the best experience.


 We immerse ourselves in the real world landscapes and communities, gathering local knowledge from communities, learning about the best spots and getting lost when necessary - so you don't have to.


Each map is curated and field-tested, showing all public access options for foot, bike, horse, motor, air, or water adventures.

Exceptional Quality

Purple Lizard Maps are known for their exceptional quality. They offer most accurate topographic and hydrographic details, are printed on durable, waterproof paper designed to last and to withstand any adventure. They are also exceptionally easy to read to help you plan successful adventures, 

    Comittment to the Planet

    We're committed to preserving the great outdoors, the planet, and outstanding outdoor experiences. As members of 1% for the Planet, we support local environmental non-profits within the communities we map to support their preservation efforts, trail building, river clean-up efforts, trailhead access improvement, interpretive media projects and other needs on a very local level. Learn More about our Values

    1% For the Planet: Purple Lizard Maps

    Learn more about One Percent for the Planet here.

    We are also a partner with Tread Lightly! - a national nonprofit organization with a mission to promote responsible recreation through stewardship programs and ethics education. 

    Learn more about Tread Lightly here.

    Tried Lightly outdoor ethics


    Purple Lizard Cartographic Services

    At Purple Lizard Maps, we occasionally take on custom cartographic design projects that align with our outdoor recreation focus. As leading outdoor recreation geographers, we specialize in designing public use maps, park and trail maps, trailhead media, trail signage, and educational interpretive mapping to enhance the outdoor experience.

    We also enjoy working on special mapping projects for national outdoor endurance race series when we can, simply because it's fun! Some of our cartographic services projects include: First IMBA Epic Mountain Bike course in Pennsylvania (1990s), the Maine Appalachian Trail Maps (2000s) and the Leadville 100 Race Series in Colorado (2015).

    Why Real World Maps?

    Karma the Adventure Dog and his Lizard Map taking a rest by a stream
    Purple Lizard Maps: Built for Adventure 


    If you have been in the outdoor space for a while, you already know that real world maps are the key to truly outstanding outdoor experience. The reasons are too many to count, but here are just a few:

    The Big Picture

    Planning outstanding outdoor recreation means understanding the whole picture of an area and seeing all your options - this requires a real map beyond the scope of a screen carefully curated for the outdoor user.  

    Our 2ft by 3ft maps include hydrography (stream, river and other water data), and detailed topography (including elevation models), so you can sit down, spread out, and make a real world plan that works. 

    Accuracy & Detail

    Our maps offer detailed topography and hydrography, perfect for on-the-ground route planning - and plan B, C, and D when necessary.


    Best of All: Unplugged Experience

    As anyone who has adventured with a paper map knows, a great paper map allows you to unplug and fully immerse yourself in the outdoors  - giving you the increasingly rare opportunity to unplug and be fully present in the experience.

    Durable real world maps like ours also keep your adventure tools safe and secure without relying on batteries or cell coverage, making them essential for remote adventures. 

    We are proud to map lots of places where cell coverage (and battery recharging) isn't available - which of course makes a paper map absolutely essential part of your outdoor adventure gear.

    Even where online or digital resources are available over-reliance on screen based maps ties us to the world of devices and distraction that many of us are trying to escape. 

    Of course, digital has value too, especially for route tracking and location data, For those who aren interested in having Purple Lizard Digital as a part of their adventure gear kits, they can be purchased through one of our digital partners. 

    More About Purple Lizard Maps

    Watch: Adventure Cartography Lecture at Garrett College

    by Purple Lizard Founder Michael Hermann 




    Expedition Portal: About Purple Lizard 

    Backyard and Beyond: Purple Lizard Maps from Dirt Rag Magazine