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California Deciphering trail names in National Forest?

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Anyone know how to decode the trail names in national forests? such as 3N16? Does the N mean its Northbound? does the 3 represent its an easy trail? etc... Or is it just the next number randomly available?

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Anyone know how to decode the trail names in national forests? such as 3N16? Does the N mean its Northbound? does the 3 represent its an easy trail? etc... Or is it just the next number randomly available?

It is trail # 16 starting in township 3N.

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Anyone know how to decode the trail names in national forests? such as 3N16? Does the N mean its Northbound? does the 3 represent its an easy trail? etc... Or is it just the next number randomly available?

Road numbers represent a standardized national numbering system.  The N is a separator.

 

The signage on the roads tells you something.  A squarish sign with two numbers is used to identify the primary well graded through road.

 

A four number road with a N in the middle of the numbers is a secondary road originating from the primary through road.  If the sign numbers are parallel to the ground it means the road is graded for two wheel drive vehicles.  If the sign numbers are perpendicular to the ground it means the road is graded for four wheel drive.

 

A four number road with any letter other than N at the end is a dead end extension road.

 

A squarish sign with 33 would indicate a primary well graded through road.  A road off number 33 road say 33N12 would indicate a secondary road which originated from road 33.  A road off 33N12 say with the number 33N12X would be a secondary dead end road originating from road 33N12.  Road 33 may have more than one secondary road thus the 33N, with N being a separator, and then 01, 02, 03 and so forth.  Sometimes sign makers and map makers leave out the N. Thus a 4 digit sign or road number indicates a secondary road off a primary road.

 

In some forests there are three digit roads.  These are usually unimproved user-maintained four wheel drive roads only that are considered trails and may or may not connect to anything other than the road of origination. (best bike riding roads in the NF!!!)

 

Theoretically if one were “lost” in the National Forest and could find road number signs one could meander back to the primary through road which should lead one to a paved highway, county road, or town.

 

So, now you know……… for now until the FS changes everything if they haven’t already?

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