This page provides an alphabetical listing of some of the basic hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, camping, and archaeological terms that one might encounter while preparing for an adventure in canyon country. The definitions on these pages are meant only as a beginning, a point from which to get familiar as quickly as possible with the jargon of the trail. Please do not consider these explanations as definitive nor comprehensive. There are outside resources listed and linked for more in-depth definitions.
An igneous intrusion that forces apart two layers of strata and forms a mound-shaped body much wider than it is thick.
A lake or pond ecosystem.
Pikas, rabbits, and hares.
Any feature of the Earth's surface having a characteristic shape as the product of natural processes. Examples are continents, ocean basins, mountains, alluvial fans, sand dunes, and valleys.
A general term covering the failure and rapid movement of rock masses down slope on the Earth's surface.
An insect, amphibian, or other pre-adult form of an animal that differs strongly from the adult form.
Pertaining to the side.
A general term for a molten extrusive; also, for the rock that is solidified from it.
Magma that flows out at the Earth's surface.
Any of a large number of small plants made up of an alga and a fungus growing symbiotically on various solid surfaces, such as rocks.
A zone defined by elevation and latitude that hosts a characteristic assemblage of plants.
A sedimentary rock consisting chiefly of calcium carbonate, mainly in the form of the mineral calcite.
Long and narrow, such as a blade of grass.
Tools made of stone, including arrowheads, spear points, metates, manos, and a range of chippers, scrapers, hammers, and stone knives and blades.
A description of a rock, especially one base on the properties that can be seen in a hand specimen.
Spanish for "plain."
The surface appearance of a substance, or the manner in which it reflects light.