Hiking is a wonderful way to release stress, get some exercise, and reconnect with nature. You might think the entire point of hiking is to get away from technology but your iPhone can be especially useful. It’s so much more than just a phone. It’s a compass, camera, flashlight, and GPS.
Choose a hiking app to help you maximize your experience, navigate, stay safe, and more.
Browse and feel out hikes before committing to them with Hiking Project. You can search hikes by region, point of interest, or hike features.
Local experts show you the highlights, challenges, and key points. You can get detailed descriptions of things like trail conditions, reviews by users, and nearby wildlife for specific hikes.
The app is crowdsourced and has over 74,000 miles of trails with new ones added constantly. Downloaded trails work offline so if you find yourself without cell service there is no need to panic.
Hiking Project is completely free to download.
AllTrails: Hike, Bike & Run
Discover the best hiking, running, and biking trails around the world with AllTrails. There are over 300,000 hand-curated trails maps with reviews and photos crowdsourced from millions of users.
You can search hikes based on fitness level, length, elevation, route type, user rating, and more. After you find a hike you’re able to view specific details like total distance and elevation. It even includes detailed GPS driving directions to the trailhead so you don’t waste any time.
AllTrails is free with optional in-app purchase. The pro version lets you download maps offline and comes with 3D maps for $29.99 per year.
Gaia GPS is a trustworthy navigation app that’s been around for years. It makes it easy to find new trails, record routes, and save hike statistics. It has some of the best topographical maps available in the United States, Canada, and other countries.
Gaia GPS supports downloading maps for offline use. This feature is indispensable, especially if you plan on hiking in places without cell service. The app also provides you with the weather forecast and can help you find nearby campsites.
There are both free and paid versions of Gaia GPS. The free version has limited maps and is for online use only. If you’re an advanced hiker or backpacker, you’ll probably opt for the $39.99 per year paid version to unlock offline maps.
Seek by iNaturalist
Have you ever been out on a hike and wondered, “what is that?” This app can probably tell you. Just use your camera and GPS location to see if Seek knows.
Use your phone to scan the environment around you and identify organisms using the tree of life. It’s a fun way to explore and learn more about the nature around you. Identify anything and everything from plants and birds to fungi and organisms.
Seek uses image recognition technology to identify wildlife. It was developed by the California Academy of Sciences and National Geographic. The iNaturalist community is highly reliable and reputable.
This is one of the coolest apps out there. It also doesn’t hurt that Seek by iNaturalist is absolutely free.
If you’re into long-distance hiking and backpacking FarOut Guides has your back. It works completely offline, even in airplane mode. It uses your device’s internal GPS to display your location regardless of where you are.
On top of tracking your location at all times, you can find detailed trail information like distance, elevation, water sources, campsites, and waypoints. It also has topographic and satellite maps.
The app itself if free, but each trail is purchased individually. Depending on the length of the trail it ranges from $8.99 to $59.99.
Always One Step Ahead
Now you’re ready to hit the trails and breathe in some fresh air. The best part is that if you use it right, technology can amplify your hiking experience rather than take away from it. You can always turn off notifications so you have some peace and quiet out in the wilderness.
These apps will keep you safe and have a little something for everything. So what are you waiting for? Go get your hike on.