Digital Detour

The 5 Best Hiking Apps

September 24, 2019 Buying Guides By

Going off the grid can be a liberating experience. Hiking, trail running or camping, living at the pace of nature — these are downright therapeutic. But it also helps to 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. They’ll make your life easier — and they might even save it.

Gaia GPS

The free app will let you check out a plethora of hiking trails across the country, but the premium version ($36 for the first year, then $40 per year) lets you download all the maps so you can get where you need to be, even in the backcountry. If you won’t have cell service on your trip, the premium version also lets you view the topo, satellite or road map version of your route.



If you feel like you’re in a rut, hiking the same old trails, AllTrails is your friend thanks to 50,000+ routes in the US. 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.

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 also 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, this app lets you 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 connected gear (like running shoes) to keep an eye on the mileage you’re racking up with them; you’ll eventually receive a notification when it’s time to invest in a new pair.

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Meg Lappe

Meg Lappe is Gear Patrol's Editorial Coordinator, handling strategy across our digital, print, video and social teams. She can typically be found running around.

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