THE BEST TRAIL FINDER APPS & WEBSITES
If planning your next hike doesn’t involve being surrounded by a sea of unfolded maps, then chances are good that it does involve a smartphone. Today, some of the best ways to find an epic trail are through trail finding apps and websites that crowdsource important information from users who are just as passionate about the outdoors as you are.
Luckily, many smartphone apps are also websites, so it’s easy to do your trip planning online and download it to your phone to have while you’re on-the-go. So, whether you’re scouting where to park at a trailhead, a campsite, or just looking for a good day hike in a new spot, we’ve put together a list of the best trail finder apps and websites for discovering local hikes.
Start planning your hike using one of these trail finder apps!
Of all the websites and apps for finding trails, PeakFinder has a great background story. The app was born from an argument between friends out on the trail who couldn’t agree on the names of the mountain peaks surrounding them. Since its inception, PeakFinder has become a popular app that displays the surrounding mountain ranges in a panoramic view from your phone. It’s not just for settling debates, it’s great for hikers who want to become more familiar with the topography of trails thanks to its built-in compass that provides detailed information on the landscape. PeakFinder can even tell you the orbit lines of the sun and moon that’s great if you’re trying to capture that perfect sunset shot.
Map My Hike
The Map My Hike app and website tracks and maps your time out on the trail. While it isn’t specifically a trail finder app, it’s great for those who are gearing up for a long backpacking trip and want to improve and track their time, distance, and elevation, to name a few. There’s also a community function of the app so you can see where your friends have been hiking. Who knows what kind of inspiration that can bring!
Maps 3D Pro
If you’re not well-versed in reading the topography of a trail map, download the Maps 3D Pro app to see the actual dimension of a route. This innovative feature is what makes the app such a great tool to use for trail finding and trip planning when you want to take a better look at the terrain. You can easily save a route and download the map for navigation while you are out on the trail. The Maps 3D Pro app is currently only available for iOS software, but stay tuned for Android apps in the future.
Washington Trails Association Trailblazer App
If you are planning a visit Washington, then you’ll definitely want to have the Washington Trails Association Trailblazers hiking app on your phone. I used this all throughout my Washington road trip last summer, and it was the handiest tool I could ask for. It includes an awesome trail finder based on your location and has recent trail reviews and photos so you can learn about current conditions. You can even search for dog-friendly trails trails with NO BUGS. Sounds like our kind of trail.
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Thanks to its advanced GPS system, View Ranger is one of the best trail finder apps, so good in fact, that’s used worldwide — even by search and rescue teams. Through the app, you can get detailed information on a ton of different trails (more with the premium upgrade), see photos, maps and suggested routes that don’t require WiFi connection or eat up your mobile data. Users can download the trail map for easy access while you’re out there, and it also works with the Apple and Android watch, which allows you to keep your phone stowed away while you’re hiking.
The AllTrails app and website is one of the most popular and well-known trail finding apps among hikers. Why? It’s got a database of over 50,000 trail maps (!), plus, detailed information, photos and notes on almost every trail you could want. For all the dedicated peak baggers, there’s a comment section that is full of crowdsourced reviews of the trail, the conditions, and advice from hikers who know the area well. Even the free version is extremely useful, and it’s at the top of our list of best trail finding apps and websites for getting outside.
If there is ever any urgent change in the trail conditions that are important for other hikers, mountain bikers, and even backcountry skiers to know, the Mountain Hub lets you make an update in real time. Consider this app a really helpful message board for outdoor lovers who want to stay in-the-know on their favorite trails. Among all the websites and apps for finding trails that we list, this is one you’ll want to have downloaded as a just in case.
Unlike other websites and apps for finding trails, The Gaia GPS app is not just for hikers. The Gaia GPS app provides outdoor adventurers with detailed, topographic digital maps of both trails and mountain biking paths. Where I find Gaia most useful is that you can start recording your track when you start your hike, and then at any point during your hike you can see how far you’ve gone. If you get lost you can easily retrace your steps back to your starting point. Then at the end of your hike, you can view your GPS track and all of the navigational data from your hike.
Gaia does require a membership, and you can save 20% when you sign up at this link.
What are your favorite trail finding apps and websites? How do you locate the best spots and plan an epic trip? Share with us in the comments below.
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