Hiking in the wilderness requires careful planning and navigation, and while traditional paper maps and compasses are still important, there are several mobile and desktop apps that can significantly enhance your hiking experience. Before you head out on the trail, here are some considerations:
1. Download the necessary maps in advance, especially if you expect to be out of mobile range during the hike. Some apps may require a premium subscription for this feature.
2. Utilize Airplane Mode during longer or multi-day hikes to extend battery life. Pre-downloading maps also reduces the need for constant data usage.
3. You can use multiple apps simultaneously for different purposes, such as planning the route and navigating during the hike.
Here are some of the best hiking apps that offer valuable features to have on your phone:
With over 20 million users worldwide and an extensive database of trails from various countries, AllTrails is a highly popular and versatile hiking app. It offers both curated and user-submitted trails, making it easy to find suitable hikes based on various criteria, user reviews, and community ratings. You can also draw your route or import a track in a browser and save and download it for offline use in the app.
2. Avenza Maps:
Avenza Maps is a mobile map app for iOS and Android that allows you to download topographic maps for offline use. It can pinpoint your location on the map and track your route. With over a million maps available, you can easily plan and navigate your hikes using this app.
3. Gaia GPS:
Gaia GPS is a robust alternative to AllTrails, providing more advanced features and options. While it may have a steeper learning curve, it offers granular customization of map appearance and controls, displays the compass bearing while navigating, and provides access to various map types and overlays.
Routie is a simple tracking app available for the iPhone and Apple Watch. While not as feature-rich as some other hiking apps, it allows you to easily record and share tracks for various activities, including hiking.
Maps.me is a popular offline map app for travel, utilizing OpenStreetMap data. While it lacks topographic maps and advanced hiking features, it is excellent for downloading maps of hiking trails and areas you’ll be visiting, making it a valuable backup hiking app when offline.
In addition to the above apps, there are several other useful hiking apps available, depending on your specific needs and preferences. These apps can greatly enhance your hiking experience, providing valuable tools for planning, navigating, and recording your hikes.