The 16 Best Apps for Hiking

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The best apps for hiking include features like maps, GPS tracking, and route planning. Some apps also offer fitness goals, calorie counting, and other tools to keep you motivated on your journey.

Smartphones have changed how we explore hiking trails. Although, I still recommend having a hard map with you. These days smartphone hiking apps have allowed us to use our phones as maps, GPS navigation, connection to other hikers, and find new trails to explore. In this article we’re covering the 16 best apps for hiking. 

Why You Need Hiking Apps 

If you’re new to hiking, there’s no better way to learn than by using an app. These apps will give you detailed directions, show you where to find water sources, and even tell you when a trail isn’t safe!

There are many reasons to consider having a hiking app. Four main reasons we like to use hiking apps are for: 


We value hiking apps that have features that can keep you safe on the trails. Some of the hiking apps on this list are able to share your current location to others at home or close by during your hike. 

Other apps on this list are able to show you current wildfire closures and even current snowfall so you don’t put yourself in harm’s way and stay up to date on current trail status. 


Another aspect of hiking apps that we value is how they assist with organization and grouping. A lot of the hiking apps on this list will allow you to favorite and arrange lists of your current to-do hikes. This way you stay organized during your trips and can find the hikes you want to do more easily. 

Trail Information 

Third, apps for hikers have some features that allow you to find trail information. Such as Trail difficulty, are pets allowed, highlighted areas on the trail, and so much more. 


Finally, another reason we like using hiking apps is to find new hiking trails. Most apps have a trail database of many areas. Which allows the user to search and find new trails. Many apps allow the user to search trails based on location, trail difficulty, ratings, and many other reasons.

What to Look for in a Hiking App

When looking for the best apps for hiking you want to consider the features discussed above, discovery, safety, and organization. But, most importantly safety should be the primary factor when choosing a hiking app. 

Overall, an app for hikers should have a reliable GPS to help with safety on the trails. The maps on the apps should be able to be downloaded during offline periods so that when you lose cell service you don’t end up lost. 

Other features are a little more dependent on the user’s preferences. Apps that allow you to search for other trails, read reviews, and show trail difficulty can be super helpful. Different apps may offer features on trial conditions and open or closed status. 

It is important to note that some hiking apps may offer a free version and a premium version. The free version often will come with limited features. And the premium version will release the rest of the features.

Bottom line: Our top choice is AllTrails. This is the best app for hiker’s hands down. The free version of AllTrails is great alone offering many features like GPS, hiking trail search, and community reviews and ratings. But, if you want to take advantage of this app, go with the Pro version. With this version you’ll get the free features plus, access to downloaded, offline maps, and off route notifications. There’s a reason why AllTrails is one of the most popular trail apps in the world.

Short on time? Here’s a summary of the top hiking apps

Best Apps for Hikers

When picking a hiking app think about what you will be using it for. Then consider any other needs. If the app has a free feature give it a try first because sometimes the free version will have all the features, you may want. 

In this guide we give you our bottom line about our favorite apps for hikers. In addition, we will break down each hiking app based on many factors such as: 

  • Device Availability 
  • Price
  • Free vs Paid 
  • Features
  • Pros and Cons 
Retrieved with courtesy from Google Play


  • Available on: iOS & Android 
  • Price: Free version, Pro version $35.99 a year 
  • Free Features: Hike descriptions, community ratings, reviews, and GPS
  • Pro Features: Same as free features, plus downloadable maps, offline maps, off route notifications
  • Pros: Ability to search trails based on ratings, pet and child friendly, distance, and comments
  • Cons: Unfortunately, the best features are in the Pro version, maps are sometimes inaccurate 


One of the most used and popular navigation apps out on the market. AllTrails offers an enormous database of trails, with updated information about the trails, photos, and reviews. The best thing about Alltrails is that it provides access to over 200,000 trails in the world. 

With over 200,000 trails AllTrails offers the ability to organize and search those trails based on length, rating, and difficulty. Furthermore, you can organize trails by pet friendly, kid friendly, and by ratings. 

With this app you really feel like you’re involved in the hiking community. AllTrails provides the opportunities to dive deeper into reviews and read comments about the condition of the trail, and their perceived difficulty. 

Overall, AllTrails is a great app for hikers and covers all the bases. It has good navigation allowing one to record pace, distance, elevation, and speed. 

The community aspect of AllTrails is a nice feature allowing one to review comments and ratings before heading out on the trail. And if you want to find new trails to hike, AllTrails has one of the best search features also. 

Retrieved with courtesy from Google Play

Gaia GPS

  • Available on: iOS & Android 
  • Price: Free version, Premium version $39.99 a year 
  • Free Features: Basic maps, record activities, create routes, GPS
  • Pro Features: Same as free features, plus offline use, access to 300+ maps, weather and terrain features
  • Pros: Provides ability to organize trails, weather forecast is helpful, GPS is very accurate
  • Cons: Unfortunately, the best features are in the premium version, Missing community aspect, reviews and ratings


Gaia is a very good app for hiking and would be a very close second place to AllTrails. The free plan for Gaia is pretty good; it features trail routes and topographical maps with real time. 

However, like AllTrails you will need to purchase the Premium version to unlock the best features like the ability to use offline maps. 

Gaia is unique in comparison to AllTrails in that it does feature weather forecast and camping locations. The weather forecast app is nice to have especially when out on the trails to make sure weather changes aren’t coming. 

Overall, the Gaia GPS is a great app for hikers because it allows you to do all the necessities such as finding new trails, recording your route, and GPS location. I recommend opting for the Premium version though because being able to use the offline map is essential for hiking when you lose service. 

Retrieved with courtesy from Google Play

Far Out (formerly Guthook)

Available on: iOS & Android 

  • Price: Free though you pay for each individual trail guide from ($4.99 – $59.99)
  • Free Features: Basic map and trail searching
  • Pro Features: Same as free features, plus offline use, additional community and safety features, detailed waypoints
  • Pros: Great for thru hiking, features waypoints, offline mapping, GPS navigation, and ability to share locations with family and friends. 
  • Cons: Free app is limited, and individual guides can be up to $59.99


FarOut, previously known as Guthook Guides, was developed by former thru hikers. It is easily the most popular hiking app for long distance hikers in the world. With over 35,000 miles of trails covered it is a fantastic choice for hikers looking to go further distances. 

FarOut offers offline mapping for long distance trails like the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide, and so many other longer trails. This makes it a top choice for hikers looking to thru hike and hit some much longer trails like the Appalachian. 

In this hiking app, you’ll find the basics that most other apps offer. Such as detailed trail information, elevation, distance, waypoints, and waterways. Other neat features include ability to find campsites and great offline features. 

Another sweet feature is that friends and family members can follow your hike progress. They can drop a check in while you’re out and you can leave updates to them of your hike progress. 

Overall, the best choice for thru hiking this app is a great choice for hikers. In that it covers all the basics and provides extra features for safety. 

Retrieved with courtesy from Google Play

Hiking Project

  • Available on: iOS & Android 
  • Price: Free version only 
  • Features: GPS tracking, topographical mapping 
  • Pros: offline mapping, GPS tracking, can favorite hiking trails, search for highlights, free 
  • Cons: limited with stats during hikes, occasionally glitchy 


Another crowd-sourced all that provides many great features backed by REI a well-known outdoor brand. Overall, very similar to AllTrails, this app has many features for hikers such as GPS, topographical maps, photos, and a lot more.

The hiking project allows searching for hikes by region, highlights, or features.  Offers detailed descriptions of trails including a section called “gems” for searching points of interest. 

Overall, this app is great for hikers because it offers many features of AllTrails app such as downloadable maps, exact location follows, and extensive hiking database. Also, the best part is that all the features come completely free.

Retrieved with courtesy from Google Play

Avenza Maps

  • Available on: iOS & Android 
  • Price: Free version, Plus, and Pro version 
  • Free features: GPS tracking, topographical mapping 
  • Pro Features: Same features as free, offline features, improved GPS settings, map orientation lock, and unlimited imports. 
  • Pros: Real time GPS, offline mapping and tracking, save photos and notes on app 
  • Cons: Unfortunately, the best features require the Pro version 


Avenza Maps feature multiple maps from National Geographic, National Park Service, and the US Forest Service. They have one of the largest selections of mobile maps for hiking and finding trails. 

With Avenza Maps you can discover maps for camping, fishing, and backpacking. Features GPS that tracks location and the map setting allow you to create custom map layouts. Safety features in the app allow you to identify your location with family and friends. 

Overall, a great app for hikers. Avenza Map is free however, the Pro subscription is going to give full access to all features and mapping tools.

Retrieved with courtesy from Google Play


  • Available on: iOS & Android 
  • Price: Free version, Premium version ($5.99)
  • Free features: GPS tracking, compass navigation, altimeter tracking, and camera 
  • Pro Features: Same features as free, offline features
  • Pros: Real time GPS, offline mapping and tracking, advanced GPS, compass, and navigation features
  • Cons: Unfortunately, the best features require the upgrade, and the app may be a little advanced for some 


Spyglass is one of the most advanced hiking apps on this list. It features many useful tools that any hiker can appreciate. This app comes with advanced compass features, GPS navigation, gyroscope, and accelerometer. 

The gyrocompass feature on the Spyglass works unbelievably well featuring live compass navigation whether you are on water, land, or even in the air. 

Overall, the Spyglass app is a wonderful utility app for hikers. It offers many unique features and useful tools. However, some hikers may not need some of the features

Retrieved with courtesy from Google Play


  • Available on: iOS & Android 
  • Price: Free version, Premium version ($4.99 a month or $26.99 a year) 
  • Free features:  topographical maps, altimeter tracking, and cellular coverage notification
  • Pro Features: Same features as free, offline features, safety features, GPS tracking, trail statistics with ETA and real time tracking
  • Pros: Real time GPS, offline mapping, live tracking, safety features 
  • Cons: Unfortunately, the best features require the upgrade


When it comes to safety features Cairn is one of the best in class. Cairn allows the user to be able to share hiking plans with friends and family. One highlighted safety feature is the ability to share exact GPS coordinates to your contacts. 

Second, Cairn has a unique feature that allows you to find where other users have had cellular service on the trails and where they didn’t. This way you’re more well prepared prior to your hike.

Overall, Cairn is a great all-around hiking app. Featuring the basic features of good hiking apps allowing the user to see speed, distance, and elevation changes. 

And if you’re looking for one of the best safety hiking apps. This one should definitely be on your list to check out. 

Retrieved with courtesy from Apple Store


  • Available on: iOS 
  • Price: $5.99 
  • Features: workout features for 38 different activities, GPS tracking, offline mapping, open street mapping
  • Pros: Basic features, simple to use, GPS tracking, and scalable mapping, wye friendly colors making screen use easy to see 
  • Cons: No free version, only available for Apple users, uses open street mapping which is a little different than topographical mapping. 


This is hands down the best hiking and trail app for those using an apple smart watch. It offers by far the most features in the watch version. 

WorkOutDoors app can be used on the phone and in the apple watch. It allows the users to scale down maps, download maps for offline use, and track with GPS. 

Overall, WorkOutDoors is an excellent app that offers many features and good Trail coverage. If you are looking for something close to a Garmin GPS watch. 

Retrieved with courtesy from Google Play

Outdooractive (formerly ViewRanger)

  • Available on: iOS & Android 
  • Price: Free version, Pro version
  • Free features:  Trail Database, route planner, records hiking statistics, high resolution mapping, and safety locating, smart watch map upload
  • Pro Features: Same features as free, offline features, satellite imaging, add free use, and unique map with 30 extra networks 
  • Pros: Good all-around features, similar to a lot of other apps on this list, large trail database
  • Cons: Unfortunately, the offline features require the upgrade to the Pro version, sometimes a little glitchy 


Outdooractive is an all-around good app that covers the basics for most hikers. It allows the user to find and navigate the trails. Plan hiking routes and save offline maps. 

Outdooractive provides information and details about protected areas. And also features similar safety features as other apps allowing the user to share exact location to friends and family.

Overall, the Outdooractive App is a great app for hikers. And is smart watch friendly allowing one to be able to save maps to the watch and use them offline. 


  • Available on: Android 
  • Price: Free version, Paid Subscription
  • Free features:  Trail and route planning, GPS, safety features, weather forecasting, fire activity, snow detecting
  • Pro Features: Same features as free, offline features, and additional map features 
  • Pros: Basic features, weather forecast, snow, and wildfire notifications 
  • Cons: Not available on all devices, use is sometimes sluggish and glitchy, requires having to go online and then sync to the phone app


CalTOPO is another pretty good hiking app. It comes with most basic features such as route and trail finding. Ability to use GPS for real time tracking. And sharing location with friends and family. 

CalTOPO uses cloud sync between the website account and app. The user can plan a trip online using the map tools and then sync it to their phone. 

Highlighted features for CalTOPO are the ability to see NOAA weather forecast visualizations and MODIS satellite imagery. It also has features that allow the user to see snow and wildfires.  

Overall, CalTOPO is a neat app that has the features a hiking app should. Best feature that isn’t seen much is the weather forecasting, wildfire, and snow functions. 

Retrieved with courtesy from Apple Store

Maps 3D Pro

  • Available on: iOS 
  • Price: $3.99
  • Features: 3D mapping, GPS tracking, Save routes, compass, altitude, and waypoints, offline features 
  • Pros: Real time GPS, route planning, highlighted points of interest, covers the basics 
  • Cons: Only have paid version available, little learning curve, only available for iOS


Maps 3D is a wonderful hiking app that covers a lot of the basics and will enhance your outdoor journey. The app allows the users to use GPS on a unique 3D realistic map. 

This app lets the user plan hiking routes, find trails, and utilize basic hiking trails statistics. If your having a difficult time deciding on a trip. Maps 3D also features one of the largest trip databases taken by other users. 

Overall, this is another great app in this list that covers the basic needs for hiking. The big highlight of Maps 3D is the unique 3d mapping and massive trip database.

Retrieved with courtesy from Google Play

Google Maps 

  • Available on: iOS & Android 
  • Price: Free 
  • Features: Worldwide mapping, GPS with real time tracking, reviews for restaurants and businesses 
  • Pros: highly used app with excellent track record, free, excellent GPS coverage, ability to plot points and share location.
  • Cons: Features depend on cellular service, limited trail database, limited hiking statistics 


Google Maps is surprisingly a useful app for not only finding routes and location but can also be used as a hiking app. 

Now I wouldn’t say Google Maps is the best for hiking but it does a well enough job and you most likely already own and use this app. Plus. It is completely free. 

Google Maps can be used to plot waypoints and point of interest. And has the best offline capabilities on this list. The user can also download maps for future use on the trails.  

How To Download an Offline Map with Google Maps

  1. Make sure you have wifi and signal 
  2. Click on your icon in the upper right corner
  3. Next, click the cloud button with a slash through it or look for “offline maps”.
  4. Afterwards, click “select your own map”.
  5. Finally, drag and choose the area you want to download
Retrieved with courtesy from Google Play

National Park Service App

  • Available on: iOS & Android
  • Price: Free 
  • Features: Mapping, NPS tours and guides, offline use, things to do, and outdoor recommendations 
  • Pros: Free, helpful for planning trips to national sites, great for National Park lovers 
  • Cons: Smaller hiking database, limited hiking app features 


Excellent app for anyone wanting to explore National Parks. The National Park Service App has a ton of information about all 423 national park sites and parks. 

The app is great for finding hiking trails, things to do, camping, and park information. It allows the user to explore the many national park sites and mark parks that have been visited. 

Overall, the National Park Service App is a very useful app. It features decent hiking features like distance, time, and a small hiking trail database for national parks. 

Retrieved with courtesy from Google Play

Peak Visor

  • Available on: iOS & Android 
  • Price: $4.99 
  • Features: Mountain identification, GPS tracking, 3D topographical mapping, offline features 
  • Pros: Mountain Identification, GPS navigation, Topographical mapping
  • Cons: Unfortunately, the offline feature is only available in the premium version


PeakVisor is a pretty neat hiking app and is great for those who want to know what the name of certain mountains or peaks are. The app features a nice topographical map with 3D imaging for mountains, hills, and other nearby features and has over 1 million peaks in its database. 

The PeakVisor app allows you to be able to use a GPS tracker and plan hiking routes. This app offers offline capability so when you’re out in the mountains you can use this app. 

Another neat feature is that the app is that you can upload any picture of a mountain previously taken. Then PeakVisor will search its database and then tell you what mountain is in the image you took. 

Overall, this app is a great one for any hiker who loves mountains and wants to know the peaks in the surrounding area. This app makes a great hiking app due to many of its basic features like GPS, topographical mapping, and detailed stats.

Retrieved with courtesy from Google Play

Seek by iNaturalist 

  • Available on: iOS & Android 
  • Price: Free 
  • Features: Ability to identify wildlife, plants and fungi, earn badges for observing different types of species
  • Pros: Fun app to use for identifying wildlife, plants, and fungi, free 
  • Cons: Not really a hiking app, minimal hiking features, app can be glitchy 


Developed by the California Academy of Sciences and National Geographic. Seek by iNaturalist is a pretty neat app for capturing and identifying wildlife, plants, and fungi.

Seek by iNaturalist is very user friendly. It works by using your camera and GPS location to identify plants and animals you encounter on the trail.

Though Seek by iNaturalist isn’t really a hiking app. It is a pretty cool app to have if you’re interested in discovering and identifying the wildlife around you. 

Retrieved with courtesy from Google Play

SkyView Lite 

  • Available on: iOS & Android 
  • Price: Free version, Paid $1.99
  • Free features: Point and scan, Offline use without wifi, AR features, social sharing 
  • Paid features: Same as free features, added smart watch features 
  • Pros: very simple to use, Great app for locating stars, galaxies, and planets, offline use 
  • Cons: no hiking features, overall great app and functionality, recent updates minimized previous bugs and glitches in older versions of the app


SkyView Lite is one of the best apps for locating and identifying planets, stars, and constellations. This app allows the user to move their phone and scan the sky for space objects. 

Another neat feature of SkyView is that the user can zoom into a space object and read more details about it such as the planet Saturn or even our own Moon. 

Overall, SkyView is a great app for a lot of hikers. The free or “lite” version works well for most people, at least it was enough for me. It offers all the basic features. The biggest bonus for the paid feature is smart watch or apple watch function. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Apps for Hikers 

Is Gaia or AllTrails better?

Both Gaia and AllTrails are fantastic apps for hikers. I prefer to use AllTrails. But that is just more of a preference. I find the crowdsourcing of AllTrails very helpful.

But Gaia is very good, and I would say it is a very very close second. And really it does edge out AllTrails a bit with its GPS functionality. Out of this list I would rate those two apps as the best you cannot go wrong with either one. 

Best hiking app for Appalachian Trail? 

The best hiking app for longer thru hiking trails goes to Far Out. This by far is one of the best apps for downloading larger maps for lengthy trails like the Appalachian. 

Best Hiking Apps for Apple or Smart Watch 

While a lot of apps have Apple watch functionality. The best app for the Apple Smart Watch hands down goes to WorkOutDoors. 

Other great apps that work well with both Apple and Android based Smartwatches are: AllTrails, Gaia , Outdooractive. All of which are exceptional options. 

Final Thoughts 

Whether you are planning to hike some trails, go backpacking, or just going for a leisurely stroll around the park. One of these hiking apps is sure to help you out and improve your experience.

Hopefully, you found this list of the best apps for hikers helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments down below. Let me know what apps you like to use and why in the comments below. Stay safe and don’t forget to hike more, worry less!

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