The best hiking apps to avoid getting lost

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Ah, the big one outside. The flora, the fauna, the welcome mystery of the open path stretch out before you. You left it all behind, until … Wait. Where’s the map ? Did you want to turn left at this fork? In which direction is the campsite anyway? Is it starting to get dark? Don’t get lost there. Download one of these hiking trail mapping apps to make sure you always find your way, whether or not you have cell service.

Photography: AllTrails

Every outdoor explorer needs AllTrails on their phone. The app lists over 200,000 trails around the world, including Antarctica. Its convenient filters let you find trails by elevation, activity type, dog friendliness, and more. If you are hiking beyond the range of cells, prepare for the pro membership ($ 30 for one year, or $ 60 for a three-year prepaid plan, ios and Android), which allows you to download maps in advance, track your exact location using GPS, and display map overlays of the chosen route that show everything from weather to quality of the ride. air passing through light pollution levels. And if you get really Lost, the app’s Lifeline feature sends a status update to your designated safety contact, either with your location or by pressing, or if you are not at your destination by a specified time. Pro memberships are also ad-free, and AllTrails donates 1% of the proceeds to environmentally focused nonprofits.

Designed for backpackers, Gaia offers topographic and satellite maps for any type of outdoor adventure. Whether you’re on a day hike, ATV tour, hunting excursion, or deep in the backcountry, the app is designed to get you where you’re going safely and with as much information as possible. There is a free version, but for more advanced hikers it is worth getting the premium subscription ($ 40 for one year, ios and Android), which allows you to download maps for offline use. You also get weather forecast and NOAA layers to denote private land, public land, air quality, snow, and recent wildfires. Gaia GPS supports over 30 languages, from Hindi to Hebrew.

If you are a long distance hiker, Guthook Guides has some of the extras you might be looking for. In addition to the seven different types of maps, many of which work offline, GPS tracking, water sources, etc. by other Guthook users. You can keep family and friends up to date with your hike progress and find in-depth information on everything from trailheads to liquor stores along the way. More attractive to hikers, guide prices vary considerably depending on the route; california map Lost costs trail will cost you five dollars, while the full Appalachian Trail guide costs $ 60.

Offline map data on Google Maps won’t work for the serious hiker, but for the cheaper ones on a leisurely hike there are worse options. Turn on the topographic map layer to see more detail in the areas between landmarks, then download the map of your hiking area for offline viewing. Drop a few pins along the way and you should be able to navigate your way using the offline GPS feature. You can also share your route with others. It’s not perfect, but it’s free!

Some extras

Hey, is that poison oak? Identify each leaf and vine along the path with To look for (free, ios and Android), Shazam for plants. What is this mountain in the distance? Use Peakvisor ($ 5, ios and Android) to display the name, elevation and distance of any peak in augmented reality. What’s the weather like on the trails today? To verify Live weather (free, ios and Android) for detailed information on temperature, precipitation, wind speed and direction, UV and visibility; it also tells you when you’ll find the “golden hour” for those perfect outdoor selfies.

Sail by the stars? Find your way with Telescope ($ 6, ios and Android), which places measuring instruments on the screen of your smartphone, including a speedometer, altimeter, inclinometer, optical range finder, sextant, angular calculator, and a tool for tracking the position of stars, sun and the moon.

For a little more serenity, Cairn (ios and Android) Crowdsources where people have found cell coverage on the trail, so you always know how far away you are from the nearest reliable signal. Finally, accidents happen. It’s free to download, but premium features like offline maps and real-time location sharing cost $ 5 per month or $ 27 for a full year. Download the Red Cross First aid application (free, ios and Android) for quick advice on everything from dealing with an earthquake to a fracture.


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