There was a time when outdoors enthusiasts ventured into the wilderness with nothing but their gear and wits. Well that time is over.
While many intrepid hikers opt to leave their smartphones behind, one can’t ignore the fact that phones are more than just phones these days. With apps being released all the time, there were bound to be a few outdoors-related ones for hikers to use the next time they hit the trails. Here are five of our favorite smartphone apps for hiking.
AllTrails (Free on iOS and Android)
One of the best apps for discovering new trails or connecting with other hikers, AllTrails is a must-have. Not only can you search for nearby trails based on your location, but you can also leave photos of obstacles, scenic places, and even tips regarding a specific trail, things you won’t get from a standard map or GPS. The basic version is free, but if you want to unlock even more features, you can sign up for a Pro membership, which features pricing plans from $14.99 to $49.99 for an entire year.
MapMyHike GPS Hiking (Free on iOS and Android)
I’ve been using this one for a while. MapMyHike is ideal for those who like to keep track of calories burned, distance traveled, pace, and even elevation. Aside from the usual hiking stuff—mapping and viewing popular trails—MapMyHike can also log your food to track calories and nutritional content, sync to a wearable device, and connect with friends to stay motivated. If you want to join the app’s MVP Membership plan ($5.99/month, $39.99/year), you can unlock more features, like like heart rate analysis and personal training plans.
Trail Tracker GPS ($1.99 on iOS, not available for Android)
If you prefer sensitive GPS tracking, Trail Tracker GPS keeps track of latitude and longitude, and lets you create multiple overlapping hikes smoothly. The biggest advantage to this hiking app is that you can also color code your hikes. Furthermore, you can also share your map with friends. For those who like challenging themselves to improve on the trail, Trail Tracker GPS also keeps track of your average speed on a hike.
PeakFinder Earth ($3.99 on iOS and Android)
PeakFinder Earth is one of those impressive apps that will leave you in awe each time you use it, because it allows you to learn the name of any mountain within view simply by holding your camera up to the landscape. Including over 250,000 worldwide peaks, the app reports back with a panoramic breakdown of whichever mountain range you’re viewing, which is very helpful when you want to know the elevation of a specific mountain along your route. Check out this video showcasing how PeakFinder works.
Bonus App: Google Sky Map (Free on Android)
Once you make camp for the night, Google’s Sky Map app can show you what you’re looking at in the night sky, turning your family trip into a memorable, educational one, or a night under the stars with a significant other into a romantic experience. Simply open the app and hold it up to the sky for a detailed depiction of constellations, stars, and even planets.
Photo credit: Dreamstime