AllTrails Hiking App Review

A Great Way to Find and Enjoy Hiking and Mountain Biking Trails

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The AllTrails smartphone app makes it easy to locate and get reviews and directions for hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails. AllTrails

Makers of GPS hiking apps have tended to make things a little more complicated than necessary, with geeky GPS coordinates features, difficult-to-navigate menus and sometimes odd feature sets. The free AllTrails app (for iPhone and Android devices) is a refreshing departure from this trend. Its clean and well-organized menu and navigation are backed up by a solid set of useful features that you'll really use if you like hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, equestrian, trail running, and other trail activities.

AllTrails lets you:

  • Browse trails nearest your present location.
  • Create tracks you can save and share.
  • Edit trails or add new ones.
  • Add shareable photos to trails or your recorded tracks.
  • Create and read trail reviews.
  • View trail topo maps.
  • Access trails maps and information when offline (a common occurrence in remote areas).
  • Sync with a companion online account.

AllTrail's opening screen presents you with a map pinned with nearby trails, as well as thumbnail summaries of nearby trails, including a small photo, and user-review star-ratings. Simply tap on the trail to bring up detailed information, including larger photos, an on-the-ground route track, directions from your current location, other trails near the one you have chosen, and all of the reviews. It can't get much easier to get out there and get hiking.

Another benefit of AllTrails is a high number of users, which results in many informative and honest trail user reviews.

It's not unusual to have more than 100 well-written reviews for a popular regional trail.

Other features available when you select a trail include check-in at the trailhead and mark as favorite. Tapping on the "details" icon reveals trail length, elevation gain, estimated time to complete, severity of terrain, seasonality (whether the trail is open in winter, for example), and permitted activities (whether mountain biking or dogs are permitted, for example).

As I reviewed familiar trails from my region, I was impressed with the thoroughness and accuracy of AllTrails, as well as the quality of the user reviews.

AllTrails' search feature is another example of the app's usefulness. Rather than just providing a type-in search box, AllTrails lets you quickly narrow choices down with icons for kid-friendly, dog-friendly, wheelchair-friendly, and beach. Speaking of the type-in search field, you may search for trails effectively using many parameters, such as the actual name of the trail, town or city, state, even by park, including state and national parks.

Once you are on the trail, you may use the app's tracker feature to measure time and distance, and to see your progress along the route using your smartphone's GPS. A handy camera icon lets you use your smartphone to document your track as you go. A compass icon lets you immediately overlay a simple compass arrow and circle, including a digital readout of your heading. You may also easily add waypoints that you can label for future reference to precisely relocate a good camping spot, fishing hole, or water source. An elevation graph lets you chart your climbs and descents.

If all that isn't enough functionality, you may subscribe (for a fee) to the pro version, which gives you unlimited access to National Geographic's topo maps, National Geographic Trails Illustrated, map editor, map printing, verified GPS routes, and GPX export capability.

Overall, AllTrails is a best-in-class, very informative, and easy-to-use app that will help you get out hiking and make the most of your outdoor time.