As some parts of the country experience their last snowfalls of the season and others encounter spring showers, many yearn for the upcoming opportunity to bathe in the sunlight. While myriad outdoor activities are available for your summer adventures, perhaps none is more low stakes and contain a lower barrier to entry than hiking. It’s simple as finding a trail, grabbing your shoes, and going.
But if you want to take your hiking game to the next level, or perhaps plan for better, safer days, you could maybe use some help. In addition to packing some water, extra clothes, trails snacks, and first aid, these apps will help you be ready for anything when you hit the trails in the coming months.
If you download only one app from this list, it should probably be AllTrails. With more than 50,000 trails spanning the globes, you’ll be able to traverse hikes you’d never discover on your own. Search local destinations or explore possibilities for upcoming travel or see if your dog can come along. And thanks to its robust community, users will post tips like scenic lookouts and possible obstacles, preparing you for any extra gear you might need. Did we mention it’s free?
2) MapMyHike GPS Hiking
This app is great for marking your fitness goals and favorite trails while amongst the trees. Its function is right there in the title, as this app will provide a mapped route of your hike.
Whether you’re in a national park or your local community, MapMyHike will track your calories lost, elevation gained, and provide feedback and statistics. Perfect if you’re using hiking as a weight-loss activity to shed some extra LBs before the summer season.
3) National Parks By Chimani
Exploring national parks ahead of time, as far as park rules and hours of operations and possible closures, is a must before driving to the gates. Really there’s several similar apps out there like the REI and National Geographic sponsored apps, or one handled by the national parks themselves. Check them out, and decide whichever one best fits your preference. This just happens to be our favorite and is rated in the app store higher than the rest.
Worried about getting stranded in the wilderness and can’t find cell service? Well consider this app your security insurance. Crowdsourced maps will show you where cell reception is available and will alert designated emergency contacts your location on the trails if you don’t make it home on time. To use the app offline, you have to pay a small fee, but it could potentially save your life
This is probably one of the coolest apps around for dedicated hikers. Point your phone’s camera to an arbitrary mountain range, and the app will show the names, locations, and elevations of various peaks in a 360° panorama display. Even better, the app contains more than 350,000 mountains in its database so it can function offline and across the world. If you want to check out a peak just out of view, app will also let you “fly” over for a closer look.
Trying to cut down on gear weight? Download this app for a navigational compass and complete GPS toolkit that comes with a truly impressive augmented reality view.
Here’s a short list of everything included: “Hi-tech viewfinder (HUD), milspec compass, gyrocompass, maps, tactical GPS, waypoint tracker, speedometer, altimeter, gyro horizon, sniper’s rangefinder, coordinate converter, sextant, inclinometer, angular calculator and zoom camera.” Enjoy the ability to track and share your location in real time with every tool you could possibly need.