There was a time when hiking used to be a really risky ordeal, especially since there was not a lot of information available barring books. However, times have changed today and our mobile devices are currently the best source of information. Naturally, this also means there are plenty of apps out there that help with hiking in some way.
Well, we’re going to help you pick out some of the best apps that you need to have during any hiking trip. Some of these are safety oriented, while some will allow you to plan a trip in advance. But all apps serve an equal function, i.e. to enhance your hiking trip without putting your life at danger. So let’s check them out.
11 Best Hiking Apps in 2019
This is perhaps one of the most popular hiking apps out there, and with good reason. Gaia offers an excellent set of features that aid every backpacker on a new journey. Features include the ability to view topographical maps as well as backpacking map layers. You also get detailed information on weather forecast so you can stay up to date about the precautions to take before or after your hike.
The app will also come in handy if you’re deciding to setup camp for the night. This is possible by looking over for public land data, and community-sourced camping, helping you find the best campsite in your vicinity. It also has features that aid mountain biking, skiing as well as mountaineering. Gaia GPS also allows you to view recent wildfires, so it’s an excellent app for emergency situations as well. Gaia GPS is a free app on the Play Store, and comes with in-app purchases. There are no ads, however. The app is compatible with devices running Android 4.1 and above.
This comes with dedicated trails designed for hikers. These trails are handpicked by the team, and are hence safe for hikers. The app will also help you generate trails meant for mountain biking, something that very few apps can do. The developers claim that there are over 75,000 mountain bike routes and trails for hiking, so there will never be a dearth of places to hike or bike to.
Since this app also uses your GPS data, you can accurately go back on the map and check your trail route as well as the time you’ve taken along with pace. All this data can then be easily shared on social media for bragging rights. If there’s a particular trail you like, you can bookmark or save them for future reference. You can also choose to follow multiple cyclists and runners who will motivate you each day. The app is free to download, and comes with ads and in-app purchases. AllTrails works with devices running Android 5.0 and up.
The name here is short for Mountain Hub, and offers extensive details on trails and parks that you can hike to. This app works pretty much like a community wherein users share their stories about hikes, hazards and dangers around you that can be really helpful for fellow hikers. You can use from high quality map based layers that give you a good idea about the topography of the area you’re hiking to.
As we’ve seen with multiple hiking apps, MTN Hub charges a premium for maps such as CalTopo, French IGN etc. The basic (free) version of the app gets the standard maps and a few other features as well, so it’s not too bad for domestic hikers. It is recommended to get the Premium or Professional subscription if you’re planning to hike abroad. The premium version also lets you download and store maps, something that’s not possible with the free version. Fortunately, the app has no ads or in-app purchases since it uses a subscription model. This app works on devices running Android 6.0 and above.
This is a dedicated hiking app by Under Armour and MapMyFitness that offers you comprehensive data on your run or trails using GPS. The app automatically gives you feedback based on your recent hiking activity, offering you important tips on improving your efficiency. The app is not simply about hiking though, and there are hundreds of activities including running, cycling etc that you can log into the app.
There’s a huge social aspect here, allowing you to interact with other members of the Map My Hike community. You can also challenge and compete with fellow runners and hikers to hone your skills overtime.
The app is free to download, but comes with ads and in-app purchases. If you take hiking seriously, it maybe worth considering getting a subscription that brings features like live-location tracking to offer peace of mind to your loved ones, and the ability to analyze and monitor your heart rate zones. Naturally, getting the monthly or yearly subscription also removes ads from the app. Those with a Gear OS smartwatch will be pleased to know that the Map My Hike has a wearable app as well.
This is more of an app for hikers with a heavy social media presence and/or if they want to chronicle their experiences for future perusal. The app will use GPS on your phone to offer accurate location. You can also get a map view of your trail and add audio notes, highlights etc for key points in your trail, adding to the customization aspect for your entire hiking experience. You can also use photos and videos for your trails, adding a personal touch to your trips.
The app comes with Facebook and Twitter integration, allowing you to quickly share the status of your hike with friends and family. You can also learn from the experiences of other travelers in the region. There is also a map view within the app, allowing you to quickly glance at hiking hotspots around you. It is recommended to carry a power bank while using this app as having the GPS on at all times can drain your phone’s battery fairly quickly.
The app is free to download and comes with ads as well as in-app purchases. The app is compatible with smartphones and tablets running Android 4.1 and higher.
This app uses augmented reality to figure out what peaks you’re looking at. However, the app needs access to gyroscope as well as compass to work with the camera. There are over 650,000 peaks listed on the PeakFinder database, so you will find even that small hill around you, as well as bigger peaks like Mount Everest. The app also comes with a digital telescope feature that helps highlight less prominent peaks.
The app features the ability to show the solar and lunar orbit with rising and setting times. The peak directory is updated each day, adding to the ever growing list of newly discovered peaks. While this may not particularly help you on a hiking trip, the fact that it can help you identify mountains using a simple camera trick. The best part about this app is that it works both online and offline, so internet connection is not necessary for it to work. The app is paid, which I find much better than apps with annoying ads and in-app purchases. The app works with devices running Android 4.1 and up.
This app is quite similar to the one we talked about above, and it can be extremely helpful in tagging mountains that you see around you. You can also take photos in a mountainous region and tag mountains in photos as well. Fortunately for the users, this app works worldwide and has both online and offline versions. The app also comes with a Sun Trail feature that helps you in manually adjusting your compass as well as planning for the hike ahead.
The clever camera feature on the app allows you to snap informative photos with peaks, their names as well as the elevation written on the photo. This can be excellent for social media sharing or simply to show your family and friends. As was the case with PeakFinder, PeakVisor too comes with a price tag. This is because it uses augmented reality, and building a database on top of that is no easy job. In return, you get all the features with no hidden charges or fees ever.
This is an excellent app if you’re looking to camp after a long trail or just settle down for the night. It comes from CampingRoadTrip.com which offers great tips on camping and other hiking related activity. The makers of the app claim that the app has data on around 19,000 campgrounds, RV parks and RV resorts around the U.S. You can also available attractive discounts discounts while camping which can help you keep the costs down.
There’s a wide range of camping sites on show here, including privately owned properties, national parks, forests, as well as city, council, and regional owned. There are several articles on offer here that can help you hone your camping skills. This is also a paid app, which means there are no ads or in-app purchases. The app works with devices running Android 4.0.3 and above.
This applies to a specific kind of hikers, especially those who are interested in finding and cataloguing new birds when on a hike. The app gives you comprehensive details on 800 species of North American birds and is built for all experience levels. Users are required to sign up or sign in to a NatureShare account, with details of your sightings and capture automatically shifting through the new service. The app has a revolutionary Bird ID feature which helps you recognize a recently sighted bird based on its wing shape or even the sound it makes.
This particular app is compatible with devices running Android 4.1 and up, which pretty much covers a large part of the Android population today. Audubon Bird Guide is a free download on the Google Play Store and lacks ads or in-app purchases. Be sure to have a closer look at this app.
This is an excellent offline GPS app that helps you determine your location regardless of whether you have internet connectivity or not. It can serve as binoculars or even as a heads-up display, giving hikers the much needed information on the topography of mountains or elevated areas around them. It also comes with Sun, Moon and Polaris star finder feature, which is mighty impressive as well.
For those who like doing things the old fashioned way, Spyglass also allows users to add GPS coordinates on their phones directly to find the precise location. It also gives you information on the altitude around you, which is handy while trekking through mountainous regions. Users can also save maps for offline use, which is a common feature among most hiking apps. Spyglass is a free app on the Google Play Store. Although there are no ads, it comes with in-app purchases. Spyglass works with devices running Android 5.0 and up.
One of the best rated apps out there and the winner of Google Play’s 2018 Android Excellence Award, ViewRanger is an excellent app with all the data you need to have before you set out on a trail. This is perhaps one of the few apps that lets you explore trails off the grid even without an internet connection, although users are required to download maps beforehand for this to work. ViewRanger also comes with a Gear OS app, so you can quickly view details on your trails through a compatible smartwatch.
There are over 180,000 routes posted on this app, so you will never run out regions to hike into. Further, you can draw routes, print maps and more for upcoming trips, with ViewRanger helping you setup a comprehensive plan. You can also turn on GPS on your phone to enable trail tracking and BuddyBeacon which privately shares your real time location with loved ones. ViewRanger is a free app, but comes with in-app purchases. There are no ads.