In the modern world, maps and compasses are frequently replaced by cellphones. We take them everywhere with us and use them regularly to track our steps and health. Plus they make exercising easier by allowing us access to a world of resources. As such, we have a list of the best hiking apps available to help you on your next hiking adventure.
The AllTrails app is possibly the most well-known hiking app available. It has over 20 million users worldwide and gives you access to hundreds of thousands of trails around the globe. You can search for hikes in your desired area by length, difficulty, elevation, route type, and user rating. The user rating feature is great for beginner hikers, as it offers a personal insight into the trail, rather than just focusing on the physical details. Dog and child-friendly hikes are also tagged, and searchable. Once you select a hike, directions to the trailhead are in the description along with the length and a map. All users are able to record their hike through the app using GPS and timing your adventure. The basic option is free, and AllTrails Pro is $29.99 per year. The pro version allows you to download maps, view 3D maps and will send you push notifications if stray from the trail.
The Guthook Guides app is targeted at backpackers and long-distance hikers. It has over 35,000 miles of trails available for users. The purpose of the app is to offer offline maps for multiple-day or remote trails. For example, the Appalachian or Pacific Coast trails. The base app is free, however, to access each trail you have to purchase it. Once purchased you can download and view the map offline. The map shows details such as elevation, length, estimated time, suggested stops, and water sources. Additionally, you are able to view both topographical and satellite maps. Guthook Guides will track you as you hike and alert you if you stray from the trail. Some smaller trails are included with the base app. Trail maps range from $4.99 - $54.99 each.
The Cairn app is the ultimate safety app for hikers. All of the specialized features in the paid version have been added with hikers safety as a priority. The app allows you to easily share your real-time location with friends or family so you can send status updates or get much-needed help. All features are also available offline for just $26.99 per year. The basic version offers maps and trail details, and it will alert you when you enter cell service during your hike. You can also find the estimated times for each trail, which are then customized to your speed as you hike. This enables you to stay on track and learn your limitations. The app is designed to work offline, so while you hike updates are sent to the Cairn server whenever you have service. This enables better accuracy for late notices in case you hit trouble and need assistance.
The Gaia GPS app is one of the best navigation apps for hikers and backpackers. Within the app you can find trails, record your route while hiking, and save your hiking statistics. These statistics include total time, pace, and overall performance. Additional bonuses within the app include weather forecasts and camping suggestions along your chosen trail. Gaia GPS comes both a free and paid version. As with many of the best hiking apps, the free version does not allow you to download maps for offline use. However, the paid version offers downloadable maps for hiking, skiing, off-roading, and mountain biking. This makes it a great app for those who enjoy various outdoor adventures. The paid version of Gaia GPS is $39.99 per year.
When hiking, you want to ensure that you are as safe as possible. After all, the aim is to get to your final destination. We suggest downloading the free versions of the apps we mentioned above to find which are the best hiking apps for your needs. Test them on local trails before upgrading to the paid version. The benefit of having offline maps that track your location is great for all hikers, no matter their experience level.