Review of the AllTrails Hiking App

Find and enjoy hiking and mountain biking trails

Developers of GPS hiking apps tend to make things a little more fussy than they need to be, what with confusing GPS coordinates, menus that are difficult to navigate, and feature sets that don't always serve a purpose. The free AllTrails app is a refreshing return to basics.

The app's clean and well organized menus are backed up by a solid set of useful features that will surely come in handy for hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, horseback riding, trail running, and other activities.

You can visit AllTrails.com to search for trails from a computer or download the app for iOS or Android.

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 you.
  • Create, save, and share tracks.
  • Edit trails or add new ones.
  • Add shareable photos to trails or recorded tracks.
  • Create and read trail reviews.
  • View trail topographic maps.
  • Sync with a companion online account.

Getting Started With the App

AllTrails opens with a list of nearby trails and a thumbnail summary of their name, rating, and location. You can switch to map view to see them pinned to a map around your area. 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 may be necessary if there are dozens of trails around you.

You can sort the results by best trails or trails closest to you. There's also a difficulty filter for showing only easy, moderate, 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 of active users. This makes the reviews more likely to be honest and helps keep the app accurate with up-to-date information on the trail's appeals, such as scenery, length, and so forth.

The last few filtering options are for what you would like to do and see on the trail, as well as whether it's suitable for kids, dogs, 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 options.

Viewing Trail Details

Trail listings provide loads of information about what you can do and what you'll encounter during your hike. There's a summary of the trail and reviews from other users. You can see user photos, how long the trail is, the elevation, and whether or not it loops back to the trailhead.

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 you'd like to give the 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're 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 to AllTrails Pro, which (for a fee) 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 is a best-in-class, informative, and easy-to-use app that will help get you trekking.