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Home arrow Fitness arrow Walking arrow Top 14 Hiking Apps to Guide Your Next Outdoor Adventure

Top 14 Hiking Apps to Guide Your Next Outdoor Adventure

Isabel-Mayfield-health-reporter
Written by Isabel Mayfield
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: January 3, 2024
10 min read 1220 Views 0 Reviews
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best hiking apps

How do we vet brands and products? Learn more.

Hiking is an incredibly enjoyable way to explore the great outdoors, but it can also be dangerous if you’re not prepared. Fortunately, there are a variety of hiking apps available to help make your next hike easier and safer.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the 12 best hiking apps of 2024 to help you choose the right one for your needs. From providing maps and emergency contacts to tracking your progress, these apps will make sure your next hike is safe and enjoyable.

#1 star
AllTrails logo
4.6
stars
  • 200,000 trail maps
  • Maps filtered based on the difficulty level
  • GPS works without signal
  • Stats are shareable
Visit Avenza Maps
Visit AllTrails
#2
Gaia GPS logo
4.5
stars
  • Info for camping
  • Paid version includes online classes
  • Can access maps offline
Visit Avenza Maps
Visit Gaia GPS
#3
Avenza Maps
4.5
stars
  • 1 million maps
  • Option to import maps
  • Free offline maps available
Visit Avenza Maps
Visit Avenza Maps

Best Hiking Apps: Our Top Picks

#1 All Trails

AllTrails logo
Our rating:
4.6
stars
  • 200,000 trail maps
  • Maps filtered based on the difficulty level
Learn More

All Trails is one of the best hiking apps and provides a simple yet very important service. 

They provide users access to a list of hiking maps for popular trails worldwide, including in Canada, New Zealand, the US, Australia, Norway, the UK, and South America.

All Trails gives users access to offline maps so that they can access their maps even without cell service, which, when used with a GPS tracker to keep you on the hiking trails, means you’ll have all the tools you need to make it through each hike safely.

You can also decide which hike best matches your fitness level based on the information AllTrails provides about each hike’s difficulty level, including information about incline and terrain.

Pros
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    Free version available
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    Includes a GPS tracker to keep you on the trail
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    Free offline maps available
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    GPS works without signal
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    Option to record pace, distance, elevation gain, and max speed
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    Stats are shareable
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    Maps available around the world
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    Users can rate trails and comment their insights
Cons
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    No walking programs available
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    No free trial

#2 Gaia GPS

Gaia GPS logo
Our rating:
4.5
stars
  • Info about land barriers for camping
  • Paid version includes online classes
Learn More

Gaia GPS is the best GPS hiking app for anyone who enjoys doing more backcountry activities, including camping outside of designated camping areas.

It includes maps that you can use offline to access trails for backcountry skiing or off-the-beaten-path trails for mountain biking. 

Another feature of the Gaia GPS app that can come in handy for avid hikers and overnight campers is that their premium version also includes information on boundaries between public and private property, making it easier to know if you’re in the right spot to pitch a tent.

It’s important to note that many features, including accessing maps offline, aren’t available in the free version. Although there isn’t a free trial to see if the Gaia GPS hiking app is for you, the membership price is also very budget-friendly.

Pros
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    300+ maps
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    Access to maps offline
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    Activity recorder
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    Maps available worldwide
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    Can access maps offline
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    Can be purchased through the App Store
Cons
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    Limited features with the free version
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    No hiking programs

#3 Avenza Maps 

Avenza Maps
Our rating:
4.5
stars
  • 1 million maps
  • Option to import maps
Learn More

Avenza Maps offers many of the features you need to enjoy trails recreationally and is considered the best free hiking app for people who need help staying on the trail. 

Its features allow users to download maps offline, use a tracker to record their physical activity, drop pins along hiking trails, and use its GPS feature to ensure they stay on the hiking trails.

With their paid version, you also have the option to upload an unlimited amount of your own maps, allowing you to see important information, like placemarks, tracks, lines, and trails. 

Since this is a maps-focused app, Avenza decided to include another special feature for its premium memberships: access to maps that can be imported and exported as shapefiles. 

This unique feature gives users accurate information about the geography of a location, making it the best hiking app for commercial purposes spanning several industries, including cartographists and geospatial analysts.

Pros
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    Special features for commercial use
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    Activity tracker
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    Includes a GPS tracker to keep you on the trail
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    Free offline maps available
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    Can be purchased through the App Store
Cons
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    No community-generated trails

#4 FarOut Guides (Previously Guthook Guides)

FarOut Guides logo
Our rating:
4.4
stars
  • Detailed information about popular hikes
  • All features are available offline
Learn More

FarOut Guides works a little differently than most other hiking apps and is the best hiking app for people looking for detailed information about a singular long-distance trail.

The way it works is that you purchase a trail guide for whichever hike you’re thinking of doing – FarOut has everything from the pacific crest trail to the Appalachian trail – which includes in-depth information about the trail.

The information included on the FarOut Guides app is everything from comprehensive town guides to make refueling quicker, specific information about key waypoints, including photos, and a distance tracker that makes it easier to plan your day.

Best of all, all of these features are available offline after you’ve completed this initial setup of the app, and you can use their GPS tracker every step of the way.

Pros
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    Trail information includes side trails
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    Available for trails outside of the US
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    Detailed waypoint list
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    Can share location with friends and family
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    Community thread for info about trails
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    Custom route-building tool
Cons
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    Pricey

#5 Cairn

Cairn app logo
Our rating:
4.3
stars
  • Real-time location tracking
  • Trail alerts for your loved ones
Learn More

Cairn is the best free hiking app for anyone who enjoys hiking alone and those who appreciate an added sense of security while they adventure.

It offers real-time location tracking that you can share with your family and friends and will alert them when you are overdue, adding extra peace of mind for both parties.

This hiking app also provides information about where you can expect cell reception, allowing access to maps offline – but only with a premium membership.

Another great feature of Cairn is that it is a free hiking app, so you can access many of the features without having to commit to a membership, though you won’t have the option to use the real-time location tracking feature or download offline maps.

They do have a free 30-day trial for you to test out the app, and upgrading to a premium membership won’t break the bank, making this one of the best hiking apps for people on a budget.

Pros
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    Includes info about cell coverage
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    Can view maps offline
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    App provides an estimated ETA
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    GPS tracking
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    Can be purchased through the App Store
Cons
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    Limited activity-tracking features
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    Offline maps only available with a premium membership

#6 Apple Watch Workout App

Apple Watch Workout App logo
Our rating:
4.2
stars
  • Tracker for stride length
  • Different exercise style options
Learn More

The Workout app that is available through the Apple Watch is another one of the best hiking apps for anyone looking for a simple app to give them metrics that will go right to their gadget.

On the app, you can track your heart rate over time to get a better understanding of how exercise affects your heart rate. You will also be able to easily track your distance and the number of calories burned during your workout.

You can either use their pre-planned workouts or customize your own. Either way, all of the information, including your stride length and even your ground contact time, will be available for you to see. 

It’s also the best hiking app for people training for things like triathlons, as it allows you to easily switch from one exercise type to another.

Pros
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    Easy to use
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    Tracks many metrics
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    Easy to view while working out
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    Free version
Cons
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    Not many features
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    Premium membership is pricey

#7 Google Maps

Google Maps Logo
Our rating:
4.2
stars
  • Completely free
  • Easy to search for trails in your area
Learn More

Google Maps is an unexpected option when it comes to free hiking apps, and though it might not come with all the bells and whistles included in some of the other best free hiking apps, it does have enough features to get you from point A to point B.

To access its hiking features, simply type “hiking trails” into the search bar, and up will pop all of the most popular hiking trails near you, complete with a dotted marker for you to follow during your hike.

You will also be able to view photos of key waypoints and read others’ reviews about the hike, giving you a better idea of what you’re getting into.

Google Maps also allows you to download your maps to view them offline and includes GPS tracking that will continue after you lose cell reception, making it the best hiking app for people who need something simple and free to help them stay on the trail.

Pros
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    GPS tracking
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    Can view maps offline
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    Read other’s reviews
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    View photos of waypoints before hiking
Cons
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    No physical trackers

#8 Strava

strava logo
Our rating:
4.2
stars
  • Pairs to GPS watches and head units
  • Beacon feature allows friends to track your hike
Learn More

Strava is another one of the best free hiking apps that offer many of its features without you having to pay for a premium membership. 

It is designed to be used both in the city and out in nature and is also useful for anyone who loves road or mountain biking. Strava tracks your analytics easily and provides an in-depth analysis afterward, whether on foot or a bike.

Another cool feature that Strava offers is connecting with their in-app community to share your best times, exchange fitness tips, or compete against other members for the fastest time finishing popular trails. 

Exclusive to Strava is their Beacon feature, which you can send real-time updates to your loved ones during your hike or ride to ensure you make it home safely, making this another of the best hiking apps for solo adventurers.

Pros
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    In-depth performance tracking
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    Compatible with most health monitors
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    Tracks distance and elevation gain
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    Access to the Strava community
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    Can compete against other Strava members
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    In-depth road and trail network
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    Free option available
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    Can be purchased through the App Store
Cons
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    Not all features available without a premium membership

#9 Spyglass

Spyglass logo
Our rating:
4.1
stars
  • Functions as nautical GPS
  • Includes a rangefinder
Learn More

The Spyglass hiking app offers many unique features that you won’t be able to find in any of the other best hiking apps. 

It can be used as a compass while you walk, drive, bike, boat, or even fly, and it is designed to turn your smartphone into an all-in-one gadget that functions as a GPS, digital compass, gyroscope, accelerometer, and camera.

Spyglass includes a map function that allows you to input a destination and view the space between yourself and your target on a street or satellite-style map. But this feature isn’t necessarily built for hiking and would probably be preferable for hunters or people who enjoy exploring off-trail. 

It also includes a rangefinder that you can use to assess the distance between yourself and other objects and the option to drop pins at your current location and use the compass to direct yourself later, making this the best hiking app for people who enjoy getting off the beaten trail.

Pros
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    Can be purchased through the App Store
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    Option to drop pins
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    Very accurate compass
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    Maps that contain accurate information about the terrain
Cons
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    Complicated to use

#10 Peakvisor

Peakvisor logo
Our rating:
4.1
stars
  • 3D peak identification tool
  • Information about how to reach peaks
Learn More

Peakvisor is a 3D peak identification tool that allows you to check out extremely accurate maps and identify peaks as you hike, and might be the best free hiking app in terms of the number of unique features it offers.

GPS hiking maps like this are great for avid hikers and mountain climbers, as they allow them to identify mountains and their unique characteristics as they hike.

Peakvisor even includes detailed information about each peak, including its elevation, prominence, current distance from where you are, and how you can get there. It also has photos of each peak and the option to share them with your friends. 

Another unique feature of Peakvisor is that it has a highly accurate compass feature you can trust to keep you on track throughout your voyage. These features make it the best hiking app for avid mountain climbers.

Pros
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    Compass feature
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    No recurring subscription fees
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    Free trial option
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    Detailed information about each peak
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    Can use a camera to find peaks with more accuracy
Cons
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    No GPS tracking

#11 Komoot

Komoot logo
Our rating:
4.0
stars
  • Hand-selected guides for inspiration
  • Voice navigation feature
Learn More

Komoot is unlike other GPS hiking apps in that it doesn’t only offer information about hikes as you do them, but also has a special feature that has hand-selected hikes such as “romantic adventures for two” or “off the beaten path.”

It also includes information about difficulty, duration, and whether or not you can access the route via public transport. 

When you’re out on the trail, you can find community-recommended highlights selected especially for you based on your favorite activities. You can also access detailed hike maps, even without cell service.

Komoot also offers turn-by-turn voice navigation so you can do your hike hands-free or link the app to most GPS computers and smartwatches.

Pros
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    View maps offline
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    Connects to most devices
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    Detailed information about routes
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    GPS tracking
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    Free trial available
Cons
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    Not all features available without a premium membership

#12 Hiking Project

hiking project logo
Our rating:
4.0
stars
  • 65,000 trails to choose from
  • Trails available worldwide
Learn More

The Hiking Project app includes detailed information about trails all around the world and offers over 65,000 options for users to choose from.

It includes all the information you need about each hike, including its elevation, length, and grade, and points you toward key waypoints worth checking out.

The trail description also offers detailed information about where to park and where to find the trailhead, which can be useful for new hikers. 

The Hiking Project app also includes offline maps that can be accessed without cell service and a GPS to keep you on the route. It is easy to use and is the best hiking app for uncomplicated information about all the best hikes worldwide.

Pros
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    Free trial available
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    Detailed information about trails
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    Other users can rate and review trails
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    Photos for key waypoints
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    GPS tracker
Cons
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    No compass

Comparison Table

Comparison Winner: All Trails
4.6
stars
4.5
stars
4.5
stars
4.4
stars
4.3
stars
4.2
stars
4.2
stars
4.2
stars
4.1
stars
4.1
stars
4.0
stars
4.0
stars
Brand
All Trails
Gaia
Avenza Maps
FarOut Guides
Cairn
Apple Watch Workout App
Google Maps
Strava
Spyglass
Peakvisor
Komoot
Hiking Project
Pros

GPS track that works without cell service

Downloadable maps

Maps options for international travel

300+ maps

Special features for commercial use

The free version includes access to maps offline

Detailed waypoint list

In-depth information about where to buy supplies for longer hikes

Includes information on where to find cell coverage

Provides an ETA that you can share with friends and family

Easy to use

Easy to view while working out

Can view maps offline

Access to photos and reviews of the hike

Access to the Strava community

In-depth road and trail networks

Accurate compass

In-depth information about the terrain

Compass feature

No recurring subscription fees

Detailed information about routes

Connects to most devices

Community can rate and review trails

Detailed information about trails

Cons

No free trial

Doesn’t include walking programs

Limited features for the free version

No community-generated trails

Pricey

Limited features for tracking physical activity

Can only access maps offline with a premium membership

Limited functions

Premium membership is pricey

No activity trackers

Some features aren’t available with the free version

Better for hunting than hiking

No GPS tracking

Not all features are available without a premium membership

No compass feature

How to Choose the Best Hiking Apps

When evaluating a product, it’s important to have clear criteria that you can use to assess it overall. In this review of the best hiking apps, we judged each of the apps based on their:

Quality

When it comes to apps, you want to make sure you find something that works as it should. Ideally, every hiking app should have a good-quality GPS and a team of developers dedicated to fixing bugs as soon as they’re discovered. 

Price

Low-priced goods and services aren’t necessarily preferable to those with higher prices. Finding something that delivers as much, if not more, value than the investment is key. 

Brand reputation

Brand reputation can be better understood by looking at the number of people advocating for its products. 

By finding a brand with a strong reputation, you will be ensuring that it is one you can trust to deliver an above-average product and customer service experience. 

Effectiveness

The most important factor when choosing a hiking app is its effectiveness. An app that is not equipped to provide accurate information and data will be of little use when you’re out on the trails.

A Word From Our Coach

Hiking is one of the best activities you can do to get out and move your body. Not only does it let you see some stunning views, but it also gives you the opportunity to connect with nature and with yourself.

It’s also important to remember that safety should always be a priority when you’re out hiking. That’s why it’s a good idea to use hiking apps and satellite communicators (especially if you’re exploring remote areas) to help you stay safe and informed.

With the help of these tools, you’ll be able to access important information on the area, including maps, emergency contacts, and more. They can also help you stay on track and keep track of your progress.

Lastly, bring enough snacks, stay hydrated, enjoy the scenery, and just be in the moment. Hiking or walking can be a wonderful to relax and explore, so make sure to make the most of it.

Bottom Line

Overall, there are many great hiking apps available to help you make the most out of your next outdoor adventure. Whether you’re looking for maps, emergency contacts, or knowledge about the area, these 12 apps will help you find what you need.

From tracking your progress to helping you identify plants and animals, these apps are sure to make your next adventure a success.

If hiking is not your cup of tea, make sure to check out our list of the best walking apps.

Written by Isabel Mayfield
Isabel Mayfield is a certified yoga instructor with over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry. She is passionate about self-improvement and loves to help people improve their sense of self-worth through education and support in meeting their fitness goals.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Isabel-Mayfield-health-reporter
Written by Isabel Mayfield
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: January 3, 2024
10 min read 1220 Views 0 Reviews
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