For Outdoor Enthusiasts: The Rocky Mountain Map Gallery

By DAN SAXTON

I’ve had the opportunity to visit many interesting small businesses throughout Missoula since I moved here two and a half months ago. One of these was the charming little Rocky Mountain Map Gallery, located at the north end of the Brooks St. commercial district.  I’d been wondering where the best place to get good outdoor maps in Missoula was, and had done some hunting online to find that out.

After discovering this little store and visiting it during my first full week in Montana, I was immediately captivated by its devotion to all types of maps!  There were not only topographic maps for outdoor purposes, but also historical maps and 3-D relief maps, along with an excellent selection of guidebooks.  That first time, I spent a couple hours just browsing through everything, and ended up buying the local map of Missoula trails, produced by Cairn Cartographics – an indispensable resource.

Rocky Mountain Map Gallery 1

The Rocky Mountain MapGallery

The Gallery stocks a very comprehensive collection of trail maps: the Trails Illustrated maps for national parks such as Glacier and Yellowstone; Beartooth Publishing’s series of maps covering several important mountain ranges in Montana; and Forest Service maps for the various national forests/wildernesses/ranger districts all across the Western USA.  Guidebooks include the Day Hikes series for Missoula and Bozeman; the Falcon Press series for the Selway-Bitterroot and Bob Marshall Wildernesses along with Glacier; and many local guidebooks for the various ranges of Montana, some of which are the only current authority for the particular range they cover.  It is an outstanding selection!  Take note that there is currently a special deal in which if you buy a map and its corresponding guidebook, you get 10% off the price!

Rocky Mountain Map Gallery

An amazingly diverse collection of maps andguidebooks!

The Map Gallery’s owner, Kevin McCann, is a dedicated “cartophile.”  He has spent a great deal of effort making the Gallery a work of art, especially in the way he arranges his amazing collection of historical maps along the walls.  The Map Gallery used to be run entirely online, until Kevin decided to establish a physical presence.  I feel that it was an excellent investment, because anyone who walks into this little store will be profoundly affected by Kevin’s love for maps.

Physical maps have something that a GPS cannot provide: a tangible product upon which the fruits of long and painstaking cartographic labor have been inscribed, opening up a wealth of explorative possibilities that fires up your mind and energizes it to labor hard at deciphering the terrain and laying out your chosen route.  Maps also can be works of art and beauty, as there are many different ways to visualize terrain and illustrate history.  They can be spread out on the table, giving you an excellent sense of the area they portray.  It is just not the same thing to rely on an electronic version, helpful as that may be.

The Rocky Mountain Map Gallery

10% off a Missoula area hiking guidebook and trailmap!

I heartily recommend the Rocky Mountain Map Gallery to all outdoors enthusiasts.  There is something in there for all hikers, climbers, fishermen, hunters, etc.  The selection is unsurpassed for any location in Missoula; plus, you get to support a local business!  I know the first place I will go to when I need a new map…..always the Gallery!

Rocky Mountain Map Gallery 2

Kevin McCann, owner of the MapGallery.

The Rocky Mountain Map Gallery’s address is 1710 Brooks St., Missoula, MT 59801.  It is open from 10am to 6pm on Mon-Fri and from 10am-2pm on Saturdays.  The Gallery also occasionally organizes talk events; for more details, sign up for its newsletter on the Rocky Mounain Map Gallery’s website.  

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bio photo1Dan Saxton is a newcomer to Missoula.  He originally hails from New York, and spent the last four years in California attending graduate school in San Diego.  Dan was first introduced to Montana (and the West) at the tender age of six, and has considered it one of his favorite places ever since.  Although Dan is hearing-impaired and uses a cochlear implant, he refuses to view his disability as an insurmountable barrier.  Now he seeks to make a living in Missoula, spending plenty of time hiking and climbing along the way and sharing his experiences with manyothers!