The 7 Hiking Apps You Need to Download Before Your Next Trip

The Best Hiking Apps for Smartphones

Looking to stay smart as you get out on the trails? A number of smartphone apps are available which turn your phone into a hiking guide. We have rounded up some of the best hiking apps out there to help you find your way, stay the course and let someone know if you are lost. They can also help identify mountains in the distance, make a social media record of your hike and much more. With something for every hiker, you are sure to find something worthwhile on this list of the best hiking apps.


The AllTrails app has a huge number of trails in its database. It is not just for hikers. You will find hiking, biking, backpacking and running trails all around the world. If you are looking to take the kids or your four legged friend along, you can search for kid or dog friendly trails as well. Since cell service cannot always be guaranteed, you can also download offline maps to make sure you do not get lost.

To record all of your epic adventures, the AllTrails app uses your phone’s GPS to function as an activity tracker. You can easily share your latest hikes with friends on your favorite social media. The app even has a built-in bucket list so you can save trails you want to try in the future! The AllTrails app has a lot of functionality in the free version, but there is a pro version priced at $29.99 a year that offers even more features and an ad free experience. Available on IOS and Android. 

GAIA GPS: Hiking, Hunting Maps

If you plan to get deep into the backcountry, there are few better apps than GAIA GPS. You will have to get the Premium version (priced at $36 a year) to really get the most out of it. However, the data it provides is unmatched. You can really go deep into planning your backcountry hiking trips with all of the information you need in one place. The app comes with many different overlays for the maps that include U.S. Geological Survey and Forest Service maps. It also has helpful information about vehicle restrictions, land management boundaries, game management, land ownership and much more. This helps to make sure you make good choices about where to hike. If you are not ready to shell out nearly $40 a year for the app, there is a free version. This version allows you to use hiking maps when you have access to data. there is also a basic version for $17 a year that allows for offline use. Available on IOS and Android.

REI Co-Op National Parks Guide

For those of us who enjoy exploring America’s national parks, this is one of the best free hiking apps out there. It is roduced by the outdoor retail chain, REI. The app includes trail data and hike descriptions for many of the National Parks around the USA. You will find iconic destinations like Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Zion, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain and Acadia, as well as less known destinations around the country.

You can use the app to plan your ideal trip by searching hike difficulty ratings, elevation gain, star rating, insights into seasons, camping, tours, refreshments and more. There is no cell signal needed to use the app, which is perfect for exploring off the beaten path. If you are traveling with kids, there is a list of family friendly hikes in the app to help you find a hike where even the littlest ones in your group can manage it. The best part? The app is completely free on IOS and Android.

Hiking Project

Another app from the good folks at REI is Hiking Project. It is a free hiking app with information on more than 65,000 trails around the country. Most of the information on the app is provided by other users, but Hiking Project does review every hike and photo that users upload to make sure they are accurate. The app has fabulous user generated photographs of their hikes. You also have the ability to search for hikes based on an area or to look for hikes near you. The Hiking Project app is completely free and available on IOS and Android.

Guthook Guides: Hike and Bike Offline

If you are a long distance hiker looking to tackle one of the country’s longer trails, your needs are a bit different than the average daily hiker. Guthook Guides was created by a group of long distance hikers to provide the information you need along the way for many iconic hikes. The app offers far more than just maps. Rather, you will find information about where to find water, campsites (many reviewed by other users), towns along the way, where to buy supplies and much more. The app is free to download on IOS and Android but once you have the app you’ll need to pay for each guide you want to download.

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If you are looking for a way to preserve memories, Ramblr may be just the ticket. This free app allows you to track your route and record memories along the way, such as audio recordings, video recordings and pictures. You can then upload the recorded hike and see your route along with all of your recorded media along the path. It also records basic hike stats such as speed, elevation gain and how long you spent hiking. You can share your hikes on social media or set them to private if you want to save them for yourself. Find it on IOS and Android.


If you are someone who likes to know every mountain peak, this app is for you. This app uses your phone’s camera and some advanced programming to give you all the info about nearby mountain ranges. Point your phone camera at the summit and the app will overlay the image with the name of the mountain and some stats. The app is free to download but requires a phone signal to work. The pro plan allows you to use the app offline for $3 a month. There are tons of mountains already included in the app. Plus, peaks are being added all the time and it even has the ability to identify waterfalls and castles around the world! Available on IOS and Android.

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