Best Hiking Apps: Taking Your Hiking Trips To a New Level

Hiking map app
Written by Sean Nelson

Hiking has become one the best outdoor activities in recent years and the advancement of technology has only made it a lot more accessible. The introduction of the best hiking apps is undoubtedly one of the biggest improvements in the outdoor world. Different software developers have come up with functional app features for hiking and many people consider using them to their outdoor hobby a lot easier.

Many people have achieved further milestones in hiking, courtesy of hiking apps. These apps are designed in a way that they provide various features such as giving directions, providing weather updates, detecting altitudes and giving destination comparisons. With these apps, you have the opportunity to take your hiking adventures to the next level.

What are the top hiking apps?


It is amongst the coolest modern outdoor applications with the most impressive features you could think of. Available with a full interlinked GPS toolkit, it gives you a spectacular yet augmented view of the outdoors. One of the most notable features of this app is that it gives a wide range of tracking features.

This hiking app consists of the following:

  • Altimeter
  • High quality compass
  • A sextant
  • Map overlays
  • Speedometer
  • Gyrocompass
  • Angular calculator
  • Inclinometer

The combination of these features gives a stunning outdoor adventure that everyone would dream of. If you are going to decide on a hiking app, the Spyglass is a good app to check out.

First Aid Redcross App

This is a special app of its kind. Designed and developed by the Red Cross, the app is available for both iOS and Android. It is tailored to be used in each location and has no room for irrelevant information. It gives safety information and access to preloaded content on different hiking destination.

Unlike many hiking software, it highlights different emergent situations that may be encountered during hiking. The inclusion of interactive apps, diagrams and videos make hiking more fun and adventurous. It is a perfect app to use when hiking in risky environments as it helps you with step-by-step advice on how to prepare and handle emergencies.

Backpacker Checklist

This is a hiking app for you that is available at a reasonable price. It provides you with a checklist to ensure that you have everything essential to take for your hike. The app is designed in such a way that you can customize it, thus adding any favorite items.

You can search for items and you’ll be given resources on how to acquire them as well as their prices. It is a well programmed app and easy to use, and you won’t have a hard time determining what items should go in your backpacking load. To check out more hiking essentials, see our earlier article for reference.

Weather Live

Supported by iOS and Android devices for a cheap price, it is unarguably one of the best weather apps for mobile devices. It is a good-looking app and impressive on both mobile platforms and many people recommend it for extreme areas with unpredictable weather.

Aside from providing live weather updates, it has a customizable layout which should please most hikers. This app consists of standard meteorological data such as precipitation, visibility, pressure, humidity, wind speed and direction. Alongside this, it also gives impressive worldwide satellite maps for both rainy and cloudy weather.

This gives hikers the ability to easily predict the weather changes and patterns especially for an unfamiliar place.

Google Maps Offline

This is a top hiking app by Google that probably needs no introduction and will keep you updated on your treks. It was introduced to give hikers destination searches and turn directions using the built-in GPS chip in the phone.

Like with most Google products, you can expect constant updates and features added on this app. Make sure you know the basic survival skill. See our article on important map-reading essentials to learn more.

OS Map Finder

It is a highly used in the UK and British hikers prefer it to other apps. It is a good app for tracking and route planning and with it, your chances of getting are significantly reduced. Encrypted with the Ordinance Surveys Landranger Maps, it allows you to purchase and download high resolution maps that can be used offline.

British hikers can experience a spectacular countryside views with access to mountain peaks, historic monuments and other hidden treasures. It is a free app and well supported on both Android and iOS platforms.


Another great app to use when hiking and probably in other outdoor activities such as camping and backpacking. It is popular in most parts of the Atlantic and helps you to share hiking adventures and create your plans. It has an advanced GPS navigation system that makes it highly preferred by many rescue and search teams all over the world.

It gives a range of topographic maps that are of high quality. With this app, you can also purchase and download maps that can be stored in your phone for future reference.

Maps 3D Pro

This app is a perfect solution for people who encounter difficulties in reading contoured lines on maps. It is made with high quality 3D mapping interfaces to enable its users to plan and visualize their hiking activities properly.

If you plan to undertake cycling trips while hiking, this is the best app to use. It enables you to interpret your terrain and familiarize with the footpaths, trails, ridges and hills.

Many people describe it as map-centric, and it really is. It’s different from other outdoor recreation apps and consists of more than 10 map features and hiking trails.

With the availability of such information, hikers can share routes, save and plan for their hiking well. You can acquire offline maps for navigation and it’s a truly amazing app. Think of an app that can help you record your hike, giving you the elevation data and exact coordinates!

SAS Survival Guide

It is highly comprehensive survival app to use when hiking. It consists of survival guides for hiking, while being a more inclusive down-to-business app. It was written and developed by former British Soldier based on a survival book.

It includes compass direction, survival checklist, full text optimized adventure book, over 15 survival videos, extreme climate survival sections, signaling device


It is highly recommended for its ability to give guidelines for more than 60,000 trails in North America. These guidelines include tracks, videos, reviews and photos. With this app, you can locate your outdoor track and share the experience with others.

With its high browsing capability, you can locate other trails that might be close to you. It involves a collection of useful information with feedback and reviews from other users, thus enabling you to experience the backcountry and many topographic features. The apps has the following features;

  • Pro-version to plan trips and routes
  • Write and read reviews
  • Addition of photos with locations
  • Sharing of trips and tracks
  • Access to offline database

Star Chart

Do you want to experience hiking at night? This is an ideal app for you and it will with no doubt serve you well. Many hikers who like exploring astronomy highly recommend it, and if you are one of them, consider using this app.

It brings a clear view of the space by bringing the expanse star-view on your mobile device for more exploration. All that you need to do is hold your device aligned to the sky and it will identify your orientation and location.

See also: How to Photograph Stars: Setting up for the Starry, Starry Nights of the 21st Century

With this app, you will experience a clear view of constellations and other space objects. It is a great astronomical app, and the perfect way of relaxing yourself while hiking.

Trimble Outdoors Navigator Pro

This app features a GPS for your mobile device that enables you find different destinations wherever you go. It has topological maps with marked way points to make your trekking easy.

You can also store photos, maps and videos on Windows, iOS and Android.

Park Maps

This is a prequel-type app that gives you directions and maps of game parks. It is partially different from other hiking applications that you can find on the PlayStore. With this app, you can determine camping destinations, where to hike and which favorite places to visit. It contains different park information that varies from park to park.

Map My Hike

This is an amazing app that enables you record hiking sessions in order to check your progress. It uses a GPS sensor to get useful data on routes, distance and elevation. It has been improved in a way to help you calculate the rate of burning calories, depending the difficult of the hike.

If you are a casual hiker, it is a great versatile app to visualize your hiking experience. Hard-core hikers can use this app to track their fitness level while hiking.

Why should you use hiking apps?

If you consider yourself to be the serious hiker, having hiking software on your mobile device is a must. Here are some of the well-known benefits of using apps for hiking.

Makes planning for hiking easier

Many applications have checklists that you can use to plan your hike. It’s easy to forget or overlook something so these applications highlight the things that one ought to do or pack for hiking. Some geographical-centric apps can even estimate the average amount of money one ought to spend in a certain area. With this information, one can effectively plan for a hike.

Easy tracking of lost people

A person can be easily tracked using a hiking app. It is easier to find a lost person, as the app can detect other devices by use of signals.

Rescue teams use these apps to track any lost people and they are highly effective in many extreme and remote areas. With the use of GPS signals, your direction can easily be identified and thus, getting lost becomes a less of a possibility.

Makes it easier to find direction

Many outdoor apps are made in such a way that they have maps and compass directions that can be used to show directions. If you want to find a direction to get somewhere, just turn on your mobile app and search the destination. These apps guides will guide you and make it easy to find routes and trails without much trouble.

Hiking is more fun with these applications

Outdoor apps makes hiking more fun and is a great way of avoiding boredom while hiking. There are apps such as the Star Chat that gives you a clear view of space at night. This is a great way to keep yourself entertained while resting at camp.

These apps can make life out there more enjoyable and less boring. Some other apps have videos and photos that will help break the monotony of the hike.

Record your hiking activities

These apps enables you to keep a track records of your hiking. You can input important information and record videos and take photos.

These mobile apps can also record the amount of time taken by each activity and how everything happened. These information are vital and can be used for your future hike outing.

Easier to locate destinations

If you are hiking in an unfamiliar place, you can use an app to find different destinations. You might need to find important locations to avail services like car service, shopping for groceries and more. Outdoor apps will automatically show these destinations and show important information that’s relevant to the user.

Ideal in weather forecasting

Many people face adverse weather challenges while hiking. However, the introduction of hiking applications has made it easy for these apps to predict weather depending on some patterns.

The app will show you any possibility of rain, fog, storm etc. With such information, you can plan accordingly so as to avoid any inconvenience that may be caused by different weather changes.

Emergency awareness

Some outdoor apps can show you how to deal with different emergency situations. A good example is the First Aid app by Redcross that you can use to in case something unpredictable happens to you. The app shows you how to deal with any issue that you may face while hiking. They should come in handy when there’s no immediate medical attention available.

Clear view of the terrain

While you can fail to see everything you want from different destinations, a hiking app will bring to you a spectacular view of the location from different directions. For example, you might be unable to reach the mountain peak but the app can show how the environment looks from there.

Cons of using hiking applications?

Despite the above advantages, hiking mobile apps have their own set of shortcomings.

Geographical limitations

Some apps are made for some geographical locations, and hence cannot be used in many areas. An app designed for use in America only will be ineffective in other parts on the world.

This can rather frustrating. You might purchase an app thinking that it can be used in the area you want to go hiking, only to find out that it does not work in that area.

High power consumption

Many apps are power hungry as GPS signals require high power to function. Your mobile device may run out of power before the hiking if there is no charging device available. This may ruin your hiking experience especially if you greatly rely on your mobile device. Do read our article review of the best solar backpacks to give you more options on charging your devices.

Vulnerability to crashing

Many hiking applications may crash after some usage. They actually stop responding to different queries which make them rather useless. Some may fail to function on your mobile devices altogether, which only adds to the frustration.

Have fun hiking with these apps

The above are the best apps for hiking and how to use them. They are perfect for hiking in different outdoor environments and give you the best hiking experiences that you can only imagine.

Find the best app for your destination and unlock the limits of your outdoor adventure. Sure, there are plenty of apps for hiking that you can find but the most important thing is to find the applications that best fits your needs.

Before your next trip, make sure to read our important tips on how to stay safe when camping for your reference.

Featured Image Source:


Sean Nelson

Sean was backpacking since he was 7. He was born close to the RMNP and his father was a ranger, so life surrounded by mountains and wildlife is a norm for Colorado. He likes to explore, but prefers to stay in USA. In his opinion, there are too many trails and options in US to go abroad.