Review of the AllTrails Hiking App

Find and enjoy hiking and mountain biking trails

GPS hiking app developers tend 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 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 will come in handy if you like hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, equestrian, trail running, and other trail activities.

You can visit to search for trails from a computer or download their app directly from iTunes or Google Play for your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Android device.

Hiker using mobile phone on rocky beach
 Dougal Waters / Getty Images

What You Can Do With AllTrails

Here are some quick-hit features available through the free version of AllTrails:

  • 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.
  • Sync with a companion online account.

Getting Started With the App

AllTrails opening screen presents you with a list of nearby trails and a thumbnail summary of the name, rating, and location. You can switch to map view to see them pinned to a map around your location. It's easy to find trails elsewhere because you can search in any location.

The filtering option when searching for trails is a great way to narrow down the search results, something that's almost necessary if there are dozens upon dozens of trails in your area.

You can sort the results by best trails or trails closest to you. There's also a difficulty filter for showing only easy, moderate and/or hard trails. Adjust the length meter to show shorter or longer trails, and tap a star rating to make sure AllTrails only gives you trails that have good ratings (you can pick between 1 and 5).

AllTrails has lots and lots of users. This makes the reviews more likely to be honest and also helps keep the app accurate with up-to-date information on the trail's features like its scenery, length and so forth.

The last few filtering options you have in the AllTrails app is for what you want to do and see on the trail, as well as whether it's suitable for kids, dogs and/or wheelchairs. For instance, if you want to make sure you can see a beach and wildflowers on your trail, go into that area of the filtering options and enable those two things.

Viewing the Trail's Details

Once you find a trail, lots of information is included to give you a good look at what it is you can do there and what you'll encounter. There's a summary of the trail and reviews from other users. You can also see user photos of the trail, how long the trail is, the elevation and whether or not it loops back to the beginning.

Tags are included so you can see if there's a river nearby, if it's muddy, and if there are flowers or wildlife around. If you think you'd like to give that trail a go, you can get directions to it using your phone's GPS app, check in if you're already there and record your path through the trail.

Navigating the Trail

Once you are on the trail, you can 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 phone to document your track as you go.

A compass icon gives you an overlay of a simple compass arrow and circle, including a digital readout of your heading. You can 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.

You Can Pay for More Features

If all of that isn't enough functionality, you can subscribe (for a fee) to AllTrails Pro, which gives you unlimited access to National Geographic's topo maps, National Geographic Trails Illustrated, map editor, map printing, verified GPS routes, offline trails, and GPX export capability.

Overall, AllTrails (even the free version) is a best-in-class, very informative, and easy-to-use app that will help get you in the outdoors and making the best of your time there.