If a trail is difficult to see on the ground, the easiest way to follow it is by using a GPSr (Global Positioning Satellite receiver), into which the details of the trail has been loaded.
GPS receivers use the signals from 24 orbiting satellites to determine their location on the earth's surface. They range from small hand-held devices, ideal for hiking, to more elaborate systems installed in cars, aircraft, etc. The latitude and longitude of individual locations may be loaded into a GPS receiver as "waypoints". A "route" can be defined, which goes from one waypoint to the next in sequence. Routes for the trails on Signal Mountain, suitable for loading into GPS receivers, are provided on this website.
There are many different makes and types of GPS receiver, most of which use different and incompatible formats! This website aims to overcome that problem by providing route information for the trails in a "universal" format known as GPX. A number of free programs, including GPSBabel, are able to convert routes from GPX into the appropriate format for different GPS receivers.
GPSBabel, written by Robert Lipe, is available as a "command line" version, on the author's website (www.gpsbabel.org), or as an easier-to-use and more flexible "packaging" of the program, GPSBabelWrapper, on the QuakeMap website. Both versions of the program will convert route files between different formats, and will also copy route files directly to a number of popular GPS receivers. The instructions which follow are written for GPSBabel Wrapper.
|Route||Route #||Length||Waypoints||GPX format||Magellan SD card|
|PRENTICE COOPER STATE FOREST|
|Bee Branch trail||Route 1||1.1 miles||coj - boj||BeeBrnch.gpx||BeeBrnch.mrt|
|Signal Point to Rainbow Lake (Cumberland Trail south)||Route 2||1.2 miles||sgp - coj||CumbS.gpx||CumbS.mrt|
|Off Edwards Point Road (east)||Route 3||1.2 miles||epe - epe||EdPtRdE.gpx||EdPtRdE.mrt|
|Off Edwards Point Road (west)||Route 4||1.2 miles||epw - epn||EdPtRdW.gpx||EdPtRdW.mrt|
|Mushroom Rock to Rainbow Lake||Route 5||4.1 miles||mrk - coj||MushRain.gpx||MushRain.mrt|
|Ohio Avenue trailhead to Rainbow Lake||Route 6||0.6 miles||oho - coj||OhioRain.gpx||OhioRain.mrt|
|Suck Creek Road to Mushroom Rock||Route 7||1.6 miles||sct - mrk||SuckMush.gpx||SuckMush.mrt|
|Shackleford Ridge Park to Mushroom Rock||Route 8||1.1 miles||pav - mrk||ShakMush.gpx||ShakMush.mrt|
|Shackleford Ridge Park Pink trail||Route 9||0.8 miles||pbj - poj||ShakPink.gpx||ShakPink.mrt|
|Shackleford Ridge Park Blue trail (loop)||Route 10||1.6 miles||trc - trc||ShakBlue.gpx||ShakBlue.mrt|
|Yellow trail - northern section||Route 11||1.8 miles||trc - oys||YellowN.gpx||YellowN.mrt|
|Orange trail - northern section||Route 12||0.8 miles||trc - oys||OrangeN.gpx||OrangeN.mrt|
|Yellow trail - southern section||Route 13||2.3 miles||oys - edp||YellowS.gpx||YellowS.mrt|
|Orange trail - southern section||Route 14||1.3 miles||oys - mcb||OrangeS.gpx||OrangeS.mrt|
|BETWEEN WINDTREE DRIVE AND KELL ROAD|
|Northern end: from Conner Creek Drive||Route 15||1.5 miles||ccd - ccj||WintreeN.gpx||WintreeN.mrt|
|Southern end: from Walking Stick Road||Route 16||1.5 miles||WSR - PJ1||WintreeS.gpx||WintreeS.mrt|
|MABBIT SPRING & FALLING WATER|
|Mabbit spring (loop)||Route 17||0.7 miles||mst - mst||Mabbit.gpx||Mabbit.mrt|
|Mabbit spring to falling water||Route 18||1.8 miles||tfw - fwo||MabbFall.gpx||MabbFall.mrt|
|Falling water||Route 19||0.2 miles||fwt - fwf||FallingW.gpx||FallingW.mrt|
|OFF PALISADES DRIVE|
|Green Gorge Park||Route 20||1.2 miles||ggt - brs||GrnGorge.gpx||GrnGorge.mrt|
Note 2: in order to avoid clutter on the screen of mapping GPS units, the waypoint names have been kept very short - three lower case letters at the beginning and end of trails, and trail junctions; two lower case letters for the other waypoints. Duplicates have been avoided, so it is safe to load as many routes as you wish, up to your GPS receiver's limit.
Note 3: the distances quoted above are the actual distance from the first waypoint to the last. Except in the case of loop trails, additional distance is required to return to the starting point.
Note 4: this information is based on my experience with only two GPS receivers - one Magellan, one Garmin. I would welcome any additions or corrections!
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