Last Updated July, 2022
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01
Editor's Choice
Star Ratings
A great GPS guide for your outdoor adventures; furnished with over 100,000 hiking trails, offline maps, and reliable safety features.
  • GPS activity tracker
  • Off-route notifications
  • Option to save favorite trails
9.8
overall rating
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02
Star Ratings
An offline navigation app that comes with superb features including GPS receiver, high-tech compass, speedometer, and range finder.
  • Star finder
  • Milspec compass and gyrocompass
  • Sextant and speedometer
9.7
overall rating
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03
Star Ratings
A brilliant hiking app designed for the mountaineers, which provides detailed information such as altitude and topography prominence.
  • 3D maps
  • Hiking route planner
  • Identifies mountains with photos
9.6
overall rating
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04
Star Ratings
An impressive hiking app that enables users to find trails, download offline maps, and share routes with social networks.
  • Trail guides
  • Augmented reality tools
  • 3D flyovers
9.5
overall rating
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05
Star Ratings
This navigation app helps users discover nearby hikes and trails as well as allows them to download satellite maps for offline use.
  • Intelligent routing tools
  • Info on wildfires
  • Skiing maps
9.3
overall rating
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06
Star Ratings
An excellent app for mountaineers that offers extensive information on thousands of peaks across the world and functions offline too.
  • Digital telescope
  • Regular peak directory updates
  • No ads
9.2
overall rating
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07
Star Ratings
An app that simplifies outdoor navigation by helping users track their activities along with the detailed statistics of their route.
  • Offline maps
  • Save favorite locations
  • Different types of map views
9.1
overall rating
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08
Star Ratings
A comprehensive guide to hiking and sightseeing in National Parks such as Mount Rainier, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Grand Canyon.
  • Offline maps
  • Family-friendly hikes
  • Guided tours
8.9
overall rating
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09
Star Ratings
A navigation app that helps users record and personalize their expeditions with maps, statistics, pictures, videos, and descriptions.
  • Location sharing with friends
  • Facebook and Twitter integration
  • Can download public trips
8.8
overall rating
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10
Star Ratings
A trusted survival guide for adventurers providing essential and extreme survival information along with a Morse Code signaling device.
  • Basic survival information
  • Sun Compass
  • Comprehensive First Aid section
8.6
overall rating
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Enhance your outdoor experience with the best hiking apps

Going on an adventurous trip outdoors is a great getaway from the monotonous hustle and bustle of daily life. This also means you need to put your smartphone aside for a while and unwind. While this is mostly true, once in a while, your smartphone can come to your aid, especially if you plan to head into isolated areas. And this is when hiking apps come into the picture. If you’re new to hiking, it’s advisable that you go through the reviews of the best hiking apps to figure out which app is suited for you. Herein, we answer some of the most common questions one would ask about hiking apps.

What is a hiking app?

As hiker of any level experience level, one would want to first gain awareness about the various aspects of hiking as well as the destination and its topography. As the name suggests, hiking apps make your experience smooth and easy by keeping you informed about the various trails, paths, mountains, and many such geographical and topographical elements that you might encounter during your hike.

Most hiking apps allow you to even save maps offline so that you’re not lost in case you lose network. These apps also let you share your hiking experience on social media and use your device’s camera, GPS, and storage space.

How does a hiking app work?

A hiking app uses your GPS to keep track of your location. Depending on the same location, it prompts various landmark spots and represents it on a topography. These apps also have an inbuilt hike database that contains maps and information on several trails, Gaia is one such example. These apps also use your smartphone’s camera so that you can take pictures and share them with friends and family on social media.

Do hiking apps use data?

Yes, hiking apps do use data that has been pre-fed to the app and data fed by the user. In terms of the latter, almost every app has a community of contributors who submit their trail data. The app’s algorithms present this data in the most comprehensive manner, an example of such a hiking app is Mountain Hub.

Almost every hiking app you will come across will give you an option to download maps, which can come in as aid should you lose signal. Some hiking apps, like Gaia, automatically take a backup of all maps, photos, and other databases across all connected devices.

While hiking, you have to be very careful about the weather conditions, and this is where hiking apps can be your savior. Some apps are prudent to prompt you on wind direction, pressure, precipitation, humidity, rain, etc. How do they do that? This data comes from the satellite they are connected to.

Do hiking apps work offline?

In most apps, you do get the offline functionality, which means you can use the downloaded maps and topography offline in case there is very weak or no signal. For example, Gaia’s GPS lets you download offline maps. Moreover, certain hiking apps even offer offline GPS navigation support. However, you may have to check from app to app if the offline functionality is free or requires a subscription.

Can you pin a trail on the hiking apps?

Yes. Hiking apps give you the functionality to save, pin, and review trails so that upcoming hikers can be benefitted from these submitted trails.

Hiking app vs. GPS

Modern smartphones can function as accurate GPS devices and have eliminated the need and expense of purchasing a separate GPS device. However, it is important to keep in mind that a smartphone may lose signal while on lonely trails. The chances of a GPS device losing signal are relatively lower. Also, your smartphone can get damaged in rain or if it falls down. This can leave you lost without GPS. So, your need for a GPS device would really depend on how isolated the area is where you plan to travel to.

Also, if you are stuck deciding between using a hiking app or GPS on your phone, a hiking app is definitely the way to go. Apart from defining the route to be taken, it does so much more like crowd-sourcing spots with good cell coverage in lonely areas, keeping a record of hikes, and sending safety notifications to your loved ones.

Which are the best hiking apps on iOS and Android?

If you’ve been going through reviews of the best hiking apps for iOS and Android, you may have already stumbled upon the ones mentioned below:

Alltrails

Explore more than 100,000 mountain bike routes and trails with reviews and photos provided by other hikers. If you’ve found a trail that is truly worth the hike, you can save it and get back to it later. Some of its salient features of this app are

  • GPS activity tracker
  • Off-route notifications
  • Option to save favorite trails

Spyglass

This hiking app is a treat for outdoor enthusiasts who love going off the beaten path. It’s extremely easy to use and can simultaneously track multiple destinations. Other features that make this app great are

  • Star finder
  • Milspec compass and gyrocompass
  • Sextant and speedometer

PeakVisor

This app is a boon for mountaineers as it provides information regarding elevation and topography prominence. Its most prominent features are

  • 3D maps
  • Hiking route planner
  • Identifies mountains with photos

Are hiking apps worth it?

Hiking apps are definitely worth a shot, especially if you are a beginner. Knowing the fact that every topography would pose challenges, these apps put forth trails that will motivate you to take up to hiking. You can say goodbye to those intimidating paper maps and keep track of your real-time position with dedicated GPS functionalities embedded in the app. You can also keep loved ones informed of where exactly you are headed.

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