Discover Nature at the Speed of the Internet

8 Essential Apps for the Hiker

May 20, 2016 Buying Guides By

Going off the grid can always be a liberating experience. Hiking, trail running or camping, living at the pace of nature — these are downright therapeutic. But it also helps that you know where you’re going, which direction you came from, or even just general information about the environment around you. So before you go all Into the Wild, consider at least charging up your mobile device and downloading these apps. At the very least they can be fun, educational and exciting; worst-case scenario, a few of them might even save your life.

GPS Tracks


Custom map your route before you even lace up your hiking boots. With GPS Tracks you can create and edit hiking routes by adding and deleting waypoints and by merging one track with another. Sync and save tracks for future hikes or further editing.



If you feel like you’re in a rut, hiking the same old trails, AllTrails is your friend. Packed with 50,000+ routes in the US, there’s bound to be a new one you haven’t seen. Filters for dog-friendly, kid-friendly and wheelchair-friendly trails make narrowing down a choice easier. All the trails on the app are curated by hikers and mountain bikers all over the country, so feel free to record, upload and share your own routes.

National Parks by National Geographic


A guide to 25 of America’s most visited national parks, Nat Geo‘s app includes free photo galleries, visitor information, and maps with more comprhensive guides available for purchase.

Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder


Oh, Ranger! is a database filled to the brim with info on national parks, national forests and all other federal recreation destinations. It even includes every state and local park in the nation. Browse park overviews and descriptions, maps and directions, and take note of important phone numbers and seasonal weather.

SAS Survival Guide


Like a little British Special Forces soldier in your pocket, this app has tips from John “Lofty” Wiseman and the full text of his survival book. Other features include a sun compass, a survival checklist, a morse code signaling device and an extreme-climate survival guide.

Map My Hike


Developed by Under Armour, you can log over 600 types of workouts and record activities based on the GPS data you create. One interesting feature is that you can monitor certain gear (like running shoes) to keep an eye on the mileage you’re racking up on them, and you’ll eventually receive a notification when it’s time to invest in a new pair.

Star Chart


Whether you’re out on the trail after dark or stargazing from your campsite, Star Chart lets you view constellations and planets using augmented reality.

Project Noah


Project Noah lets you discover nature at the speed of your internet connection. It has three modes: Spotting, which lets you photograph flora and fauna to submit and identify them; Field Guide lets you know what wildlife has been spotted near you; and Field Missions has you submit your photos and descriptions to labs and environmental groups to help them gather data for research projects.

Now, Get the Hiking Boots to Put the Apps to Work


The trail calls for hardened footwear to combat loose gravel, jagged rocks and shallow streams. When backpacking, or taking on more black diamond terrain, hiking boots are there to lend more ankle support and reinforced protection. Read the Story