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Exploring the Great Outdoors: 8 Best Hiking Apps

By Sandra Roussy June 23, 2023 Travel

From winding trails through lush forests to majestic peaks offering breathtaking vistas, the world is a hiker’s playground waiting to be explored. In this age of technological advancement, hiking apps have emerged as indispensable companions for outdoor enthusiasts, revolutionizing the way we plan, navigate, and experience our hiking adventures.

  1. AllTrails – AllTrails is one of the most popular hiking apps, offering a vast collection of trail maps, reviews, photos, and GPS tracking features.
  2. Komoot – Komoot is a comprehensive outdoor app that includes hiking, cycling, and mountain biking routes. It provides detailed maps, route planning, and navigation features.
  3. Hiking Project – Hiking Project is an app developed by REI that offers a comprehensive database of hiking trails, maps, and photos. It includes user reviews and ratings for various trails.
  4. Gaia GPS – Gaia GPS is a versatile app that offers topographic maps, trail tracking, and offline navigation. It is widely used for hiking, backpacking, and other outdoor activities.
  5. Outdoor Active – Outdoor Active provides detailed topographic maps, trail guides, and offline GPS navigation. It also offers augmented reality features to enhance the hiking experience.
  6. PeakFinder – PeakFinder is a unique app that helps you identify mountains and peaks around you using augmented reality. It provides panoramic views and information about mountains worldwide.
  7. Ramblr – Ramblr combines hiking, GPS tracking, and a social community. It allows you to record your hiking adventures, track statistics, and share your experiences with others.
  8. Wikiloc – Wikiloc is a platform that allows users to discover and share outdoor trails worldwide. The app provides GPS navigation, offline maps, and a vast collection of user-contributed trails.

Gone are the days of relying solely on paper maps and guidebooks. Hiking apps have stepped up to the plate, offering a wealth of features and functionality designed to enhance every aspect of the hiking journey. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker seeking new trails or a novice adventurer embarking on your first outdoor expedition, hiking apps provide invaluable resources at your fingertips.

What to Look for in a Hiking App

When looking for a hiking app, here are some key features and considerations to keep in mind.

Trail Maps and Routes

Ensure the app provides a comprehensive collection of trail maps with varying levels of difficulty. Look for apps that offer detailed information about trail length, elevation, terrain, and points of interest along the route.

GPS Tracking and Navigation

The app should have reliable GPS tracking capabilities to help you navigate the trails accurately. It should show your real-time location on the map and offer turn-by-turn directions if needed. Offline navigation is also valuable for areas with limited or no internet connectivity.

User Reviews and Ratings

Look for apps that provide user reviews, ratings, and comments for trails. This can give you valuable insights into the trail conditions, difficulty level, and other hikers’ experiences.

Offline Access

If you plan to hike in remote areas without internet access, consider apps that offer offline access to maps and trail information. This allows you to download maps in advance and use them without relying on a data connection.

Trail Recording and Statistics

Some apps allow you to record your hikes, track your statistics (distance, speed, elevation gain, etc.), and save your hiking history. This can be helpful for monitoring your progress, setting goals, and sharing your achievements.

Safety Features

Look for apps that include safety features such as emergency contacts, SOS alerts, or the ability to share your real-time location with trusted contacts. These features can be crucial in case of emergencies or if you’re hiking alone.

Social Community

Some apps have a built-in social community where hikers can share their experiences, photos, and recommendations. This can provide additional insights and foster a sense of community among like-minded outdoor enthusiasts.

Compatibility and Platform

Check if the app is available for your specific device (iOS or Android) and if it offers cross-platform compatibility. Also, consider the app’s ease of use and intuitive interface for a seamless experience.

Additional Features

Explore other features that might enhance your hiking experience, such as weather forecasts, sunrise/sunset times, offline points of interest, augmented reality features, or integration with wearable devices.

Consider your specific needs and preferences when evaluating hiking apps to find the one that best aligns with your requirements and enhances your hiking adventures.

Best Free Hiking Apps

While the majority of hiking apps are available for free download and use, it’s important to note that many of them offer limited or basic features in their free versions. As is the case with most apps, you also have the option to unlock additional features and tools by either purchasing the app or subscribing to a monthly plan.


The free version of the AllTrails app provides access to a vast collection of trail maps, reviews, and photos, making it a valuable resource for hikers. You can search for trails based on location, difficulty level, and length, and view detailed trail information such as elevation gain and user ratings.

The app offers basic GPS tracking to track your location on the trail and allows you to save and bookmark your favorite trails for future reference.


The free version of the Komoot app offers a range of valuable features. You can access a vast collection of trail maps and plan routes based on their preferences. The app provides basic navigation and turn-by-turn directions during hikes.

While offline maps are available, voice navigation and multi-day planning are exclusive to the paid version. Despite these limitations, the free version of Komoot still provides a reliable platform for discovering and exploring trails.

Outdoor Active

The free version of the Outdoor Active app offers a variety of features to support outdoor activities and hiking adventures. You can access a wide range of trail maps, including hiking, biking, and running routes.

The app provides detailed information about trails, including length, elevation, difficulty, and points of interest. You can search for trails based on location, save favorites, and track your progress with basic GPS tracking.

While the free version has limitations compared to the premium version, it still serves as a reliable tool for discovering and exploring outdoor trails.

Hiking Project

Hiking Project, developed by REI, is a dedicated hiking app that offers a wealth of information and features for hikers. The app provides access to an extensive database of hiking trails, complete with trail maps, descriptions, and user-contributed content.

You can search for trails based on location, difficulty, and length, and browse through user reviews and ratings. The app allows you to track your hikes, record your progress, and save your favorite trails. With its comprehensive trail information and user-friendly interface, Hiking Project is a valuable resource for hikers of all levels.


Ramblr is a free app designed to enhance the hiking experience by combining GPS tracking, recording, and a social community. With the free version, you can record and track your hikes, capturing photos, videos, and audio along the way.

The app allows you to document your adventures and share them with the Ramblr community. Basic statistics, such as distance, speed, and elevation, are also provided.

While the free version offers essential features for recording and sharing hiking experiences, additional functionalities are available with the paid version of the app.


Wikiloc is a versatile app that serves as a platform for outdoor enthusiasts to discover and share a wide range of trails worldwide. With Wikiloc, you can access a vast collection of user-contributed trails, including hiking, biking, running, and more.

The app offers detailed trail information, including maps, descriptions, and photos. You can search for trails based on location, difficulty, and activity type. Wikiloc also provides GPS navigation for selected trails, offline map access, and the ability to track and record your own routes.

These apps offer a range of features at no cost, allowing you to explore and enjoy hiking without any financial commitment. While they may have limitations compared to their premium counterparts, they still provide valuable tools and resources to enhance your hiking adventures.

Best Paid Hiking Apps

When it comes to paid hiking apps, there are several feature-rich options available that offer enhanced functionality and a more comprehensive hiking experience.

Gaia GPS

Gaia GPS offers a robust and feature-rich paid version that takes the hiking and outdoor experience to new heights. With the paid version, you gain access to an extensive collection of high-quality topographic maps, including multiple map layers and overlays for terrain, weather, and more.

The app provides advanced GPS tracking and navigation features, including real-time location tracking and detailed route planning. Offline maps allow you to navigate trails even in remote areas without an internet connection.

Great features to make use of include additional map sources, advanced statistics, printing capabilities, and the ability to create custom waypoints and routes.

AllTrails Pro

The Pro version of the AllTrails app offers a range of enhanced features for avid hikers. Subscribers gain access to offline maps, allowing them to navigate trails even without an internet connection.

The Pro version also provides advanced map layers, including weather overlays and air quality information. Lifeline, a safety feature, enables real-time tracking and sharing of your location with trusted contacts.

With Pro, you can customize your trail maps, print maps for offline use, and enjoy an ad-free experience.


PeakFinder is a paid app that offers a unique and captivating experience. By simply pointing your device’s camera towards the landscape, you can identify and learn about mountains and peaks in real time. The app provides panoramic views and exhaustive information on mountains worldwide, including their names, elevations, and distances.

With its stunning visuals and extensive database, PeakFinder offers an immersive and educational experience for those seeking to discover and appreciate the majesty of the world’s peaks.

These paid hiking apps offer advanced features, expanded map options, and additional functionality to enhance your hiking experience. While they require a financial investment, they often provide a more complete set of tools and resources for avid hikers and outdoor adventurers.

From trail maps and real time GPS navigation to user reviews and safety features, hiking apps cater to a wide range of needs and preferences. Whether you prefer solo hikes through remote wilderness or seek the camaraderie of a vibrant hiking community, there’s an app tailored to suit your needs.



Let’s Have a Conversation:

Do you enjoy hiking? What hiking apps have you used? What is your favorite hiking app and why? Which features do you use the most? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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The Author

Sandra is the middle-aged woman you hear about who sheds everything she owns and sets out into the world to rediscover and redefine herself. After more than twenty years spent in the fashion industry designing collections for brands such as La Senza, Victoria’s Secret, and JACOB Lingerie, she shifted her path and pursued her longtime passion for writing, traveling, and photography. Sandra was published in the NY Times best selling book Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It. A deeply personal essay hand-picked by Elizabeth Gilbert about loss, facing fears, and going after dreams. Visit her website:

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