The days of having a map for every little pocket of each national park you want to hike around are gone. Although we do miss planning routes that loop or go via certain features for ourselves, the convenience of opening-up an app on your phone to show all the routes available in the area you want to hike in is quite amazing.
Hiking apps turn your phone into a GPS that gives you awesome hike suggestions and some do it for anywhere in the world. You can follow yourself while you hike a pre-loaded route, create new routes by looking through all the public footpaths and features, and share them. They also give you details like distance, average duration, elevation change, and more.
We have taken some of the best apps for hiking available on either iOS, Android, or both, and reviewed them in this handy article so you can find the best one for you.
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Green Track is a great app for hiking for anyone who wants’s to create their own routes. The app comes with 11 types of online maps, from topographic to satellite and road maps and it tracks your location as you hike, updating duration, elevation, distance, and more as you go.
It’s only available on Android and not iOS, which is a little annoying for us apple users. It doesn’t come with pre-loaded routes but you can add routes to it really easily, but you’ll have to find the GPS track data first.
Despite the aged look, the app has an easy interface to use and you’ll get used to it quite quickly. The topographic maps are particularly accurate and you can download them for offline use for moments when you have no signal in the wilderness.
The only real annoyance about this app is that if you touch the screen it stops tracking you until you click the recentre button.
The Gaia GPS app for hiking is available on both iOS and Android. There is a free version that gives you some great features but to be able to use offline maps you’ll have to subscribe for around $40 a year.
The app allows you to search for hikes in your area or anywhere and then follow them as you go, making sure you don’t go off-trail. It’ll give you a lot of live data about your hike, from speed, ascent, descent, elevation change, the list is endless. Unfortunately, you’ll need to have a connection to keep using the app properly, unless you subscribed and download them for offline use.
It comes with one map for a free user. As a member, you get road, satellite, and topographic of the entire world. As a premium member, you get access to a huge amount of added features like NOAA weather forecasts, French maps, Swiss maps, hunting layers, NatGeo trails, and a lot more.
It also has special modes for backpacking, day packing, hunting, mountain biking, camping, and skiing. The app shows you everything you need to know about how the area will affect your chosen activity.
This is an awesome app for hiking with so much to offer that there is too much to put in the article. If you love the outdoors and are willing to part with $40 a year, you’ll get a lot out of this app.
The AllTrails app for hiking is available on both iOS and Android. It does exactly what it sounds like it does; has hundreds of thousands of pre-loaded trails for you to search through, select, and enjoy.
You can filter the pre-loaded trails by distance, difficulty, kid-friendly, dog-friendly, and a lot more, making it very easy to find the perfect hike for you and your family.
Once you have selected your hike, you can follow yourself on either a road, topo, or satellite map to ensure you’re on the right track. It’ll give you live information about your hike stats, you can save your favorite hikes, and share them with your friends.
It comes with an awesome user interface that is easy to use and if you choose to upgrade to PRO for $30 a year you get a load more features. You can download offline maps, get route notifications, use their Lifeline feature that allows safety contacts to track you, get live overlays of pollution, air quality, weather, and more.
Overall it’s an awesome app for hiking but has a little less detail than Gaia.
The free version gives you full access to your first region, including all trails and offline map use. To start exploring other regions you’ll have to subscribe.
This app not only allows you to find hikes, plan them to the smallest detail, and track yourself with live stats but you can also save your favorite hikes and add photos to them plus hints and tips. Once you’ve saved them you share them with friends or make them public for everyone to share.
Once you start a hiking trail, you can activate the voice directions that give you turn-by-turn notifications so you keep on track. If you have any old trails on a handheld GPS, it’s really easy to transfer them to your Komoot app so you can use and share them.
Overall a great app for hiking that gives you all the data and features for your region for free, and after that, it’s up to whether you subscribe for other regions too.
The Hiking Project app for hiking is made by REI, the new amazon of the outdoors world. The app is available on iOS and Android, gives you 35,000 trails to follow and the database is ever-growing. Trails are constantly being added and the idea of the app is to give free trails to the world.
The app is simple and easy to use. It allows you to search by your location and other locations. Each hike comes with a detailed map, data, and waypoints so you can navigate via landmarks as you go. You can also download offline maps for free, unlike most other apps.
It also comes with GPS navigation that follows you as you like, making sure you’re on the right track. The app is constantly updated with trail conditions like whether it’s dry or muddy and it comes with driving directions to get you to your starting point.
Overall, Hiking Project is still in development and is only going to get better if you look at how REI does things. Right now it’s a great app for free offline maps and to find some cool trails on.
The Peakvisor app for hiking takes things to a new level and is available on both iOS and Android. The app is designed to give you 3D maps of the trails you love, with the idea of giving you more real-life details of the hike.
You can use the app to plan hikes in detail and the app will offer up useful information like mountain huts and more to add to your route planning. It also comes with a 3D compass and altimeter to aid your navigation on the trail.
The app is also designed to use your phone’s camera to identify any peaks in your general vicinity. This means you can ID all the peaks around you and learn them.
Unfortunately, the app does need some work as it doesn’t like loading up in airplane mode and it’s not as accurate as it needs to be. The app is still having peak and trail data added to it, so it’s definitely one to watch, but maybe it’s not quite ready for the real world yet.
The Viewranger app for hiking has been around for a while, so long that they even won the 2018 Android Excellence award from Google Play. This means the app has had some time to evolve a bit, so much so, that their GPS is good enough for search and rescue teams to use.
The Viewranger app for hiking is available on both iOS and Android. It gives you access to 180,000 trails worldwide that are comprised of national parks, state parks, national forests, and more. The trails exist across 24 countries, so no matter where you’d like to hide, Viewranger probably has you covered.
The interface is user-friendly and a breeze to understand. Search for trails based on your location or where you’re going to be, and save them for later. Once you start hiking, the app follows you with live hike stats and guides you on some exceptionally detailed maps so you never lose your way. The GPS accuracy is as good as it gets to.
If you’re using the app in the USA you get access to USA Topo, USGS Topo, USA Land Cover, and USA Slopes. USA topographic maps zoom down to 1:24K scale with 20- to 40-foot contours in most places. You can also download the maps for offline use.
If you subscribe to PRO, then you’ll get access to their Skyline feature which will use your camera to help you ID up to 9 million peaks, places, and lakes worldwide. This feature is still a bit glitchy but it’s pretty awesome.
The app also has a BuddyBeacon feature, allowing you to share your real-time location privately with friends and family as an extra precaution. Unfortunately, it does need data to work but it’s still a great feature.
As great as Viewranger is, there are some annoying bits. If you’re not signed up for PRO, the pop-up advertising for it is quite annoying, and for some reason, the app requests access to your location at all times. Also, if you’re in the UK, the app doesn’t include all the public footpaths, a big fail.
The best app for hiking for a local user has to be Komoot. Komoot gives you incredible details and offline use for one region for free. This means you can have full access to all the trails, info, features, and knowledge for your local hiking county, which to be frank, is where we all hike the most. Komoot allows you to search routes, follow them with live GPS and hike stats, add photos, and share your routes with friends and family. Available on both iOS and Android.
If you’re looking to be a free user who just wants access to trails and a GPS that helps you follow them, then the app for hiking for you is AllTrails. AllTrails has over 100,000 trails worldwide to pick from and you can access all of them as a free user. The app will guide you around your chosen trail with live stats and GPS so you’ll never get lost. As a free user, you may miss out on things like a LifeLine feature and offline maps, but you can upgrade to get them if and when you need them. Available on both iOS and Android
The best app for hiking if you’re going all-in with a full subscription is Viewranger with Gaia coming in a close second. The reason we selected Viewranger as number one is due to its worldwide coverage, thousands of trails, and pinpoint GPS accuracy. Also, little extra features like BeaconBuddy and Skyline add an awesome dimension to the app and how fun it can be to use. Available on both iOS and Android.
And don’t forget, you should always head out on a hike with at least a map of the area and a hiking compass just in case your phone dies while you are on the trail. Of course, you can always have a dedicated hiking watch as well, but it always pays to have back up in terms of safety!