The 10 Best Hiking GPS Apps

Take these essential apps with you on your hike

Planning your perfect hike, training run, or bike ride is just an app away with one of these GPS hiking apps. Your smartphone is an essential companion on a hike, so add an app or two to help you make the most of your trip.

Some of these apps track your workout on the hike so that you can see exactly how far and how high you moved, how many calories you burned, and where you should go to complete a trail. You can even build your own hikes in some of these apps so that other users can use your custom trails for their hiking adventures.

Most of these hiking apps are free to download and offer in-app purchases for more features.

Note: Although these apps have offline features and can function in some instances without an internet connection, the apps are most useful when GPS is running in the background. This dramatically decreases battery life. Be sure to take portable battery packs with you on your trip and charge your devices whenever you can (there are even portable solar chargers you can buy).

MapMyHike
Map My Hike is well-suited for back-country or fitness hikers. © MapMyFitness

The Map My Hike app includes the full set of features for hiking and running such as an easy-to-use maps and tracks feature, a fitness-oriented dashboard for your cumulative stats, and activity feed community sharing.

The Map My Hike app:

  • Syncs your account with other health apps such as Apple Health
  • Connects to your wearable device
  • Produces a 24/7 activity graph
  • Tracks hiking boot or shoe mileage
  • Records pace, distance, calorie burn, and elevation
  • Syncs with Under Armour smart shoes
  • Includes driving directions to the trailhead
  • Filters by kid-friendly, wheelchair-friendly and dog-friendly trails

MapMyHike is free for both iOS and Android devices. More »

All Trails App
AllTrails is among the most popular hiking apps on the market. AllTrails

AllTrails is a hiking and running app known for its guides to more than 50,000 trails across North America, including photos, reviews, and tracks. You can also record your tracks for others to view and follow.

AllTrail's browse capability lets you locate trails closest to you. The community reviews are monitored by AllTrails and include an abundance of useful information and honest user feedback. You can also view topographic maps for most trails and backcountry regions.

Some of AllTrail's other notable features are:

  • Geotagged photos
  • Social sharing of tracks and trips
  • Provisions for reading and writing trail reviews
  • Access to trail database without an internet connection
  • Trail reviews 
  • Route planning with Map Editor and map downloads for offline use

Get AllTrails for iOS to use this app on your iPhone (and Apple Watch) or the AllTrails Android app for Android mobile devices. Both apps are free to download and use. More »

Maps 3D Pro
Maps 3D Pro is the best app for pre-planning trip maps. movingworld GmbH. iTunes

The Maps 3D Pro hiking app focuses on map usage, which is perfect if you're unhappy with the lack of terrain detail in other hiking apps.

This app lets you download maps offline, perfect for those remote trips where a signal is unattainable. It provides excellent detail about the hike.

You'll immediately notice with this app that there are actual hills and valleys and water shown in great detail. This makes planning for a hike easy because you can see where the trail takes you around mountains and other natural structures.

Additionally, Maps 3D Pro has:

  • An easy-to-use search feature
  • Rich 2D and 3D color topo map views
  • Towns, streets lakes and mountain peaks that are searchable based on NASA scans and USGS topo maps
  • Offline access to worldwide 3D maps to limit battery drain when trip planning
  • Map storage for times when you can't get a signal

Maps 3D Pro also records your routes for later use and can track the distance you travel and how fast you move

The Maps 3D Pro app is available for iOS devices only. More »

Ramblr Journaling App
The Ramblr app is your best choice for journaling and sharing your adventures. Bientus, Inc. iTunes

Travel is an adventure you want to share with your friends and family. If you want to journal and share your adventures online, check out Ramblr, the best outdoor journaling app.

Ramblr isn't just a journaling app. It offers route tracking, downloadable maps, GPS directions, and other hikers' trips to follow.

The heart of Ramblr is the ability to chronicle your trips with multiple photos, videos, GPS tracks, and stats including elevation, distance, and speed.

Use Ramblr to:

  • Track your route on the map
  • Check out the stats for your trip such as highest point, distance, and speed
  • Record and tag video, images, audio and text descriptions to point on your trip map
  • Upload your story. The app integrates seamlessly with Facebook and Twitter
  • Use the built-in GPS and download maps for offline use

Download the free Android Ramblr app or grab it for iOS. More »

SAS Survival Guide App
The SAS Survival Guide is comprehensive. Trellisys.net/iTunes

The SAS Survival Guide is by far the most comprehensive and down-to-business survival app out there. Written by former British Special Air Service soldier and instructor John "Lofty" Wiseman, the guide is based on the best-selling book of the same name.

The app includes:

  • Full text of the bestselling book (400+ pages) organized and optimized for the app (English language content only)
  • 16 videos by Wiseman
  • Image galleries of animal tracks, knots, and edible, medicinal, and poisonous plants
  • Morse code signaling device
  • Survival checklist
  • Compass
  • Extreme climates sections including polar, desert, tropical and sea

Most of the app content does not require an internet connection, but some parts of it, such as the videos and social sharing features, must have an active internet connection to function.

The SAS Survival Guide app is available for iOS and Android mobile devices. More »

View Ranger
View Ranger

The ViewRanger Trails & Maps app uses the power of augmented reality to guide your hike or bike ride. Plan your trips with route guides and download maps so they'll be available when you are offline.

The app offers thousands of routes, so you'll be able to find somewhere in your area to explore.

ViewRanger includes the following features:

  • Skyline augmented reality for the outdoors. The app can identify more than 9 million lakes, peaks and places in the world.
  • Apple Watch and Android Wear compatibility
  • Create your own route feature
  • Live stats for time, speed, distance, and compass bearing
  • Private sharing of your location with family and friends

The ViewRanger app is available for free for Apple iOS devices and Android mobile devices.  More »

Cairn
Cairn

Cairn has topo maps and trail stats, but its real value lies in its safety features.

Use the Cairn app to share your plans with your friends or family. Establish an anticipated return date and time. When you're past due, the app notifies your contacts, who can see your GPS location during your trip and gather important information to initiate rescue efforts. 

In addition to its safety features, Cairn also offers:

  • Downloads of detailed topo maps for offline use
  • Cell coverage locator and crowdsource information for a safer trek
  • ETA and distance stats available on the trail without battery drain
  • Recording feature to save your trail while you hike
  • Live distance, elevation gain, and other stats for thousands of hiking routes, summits, and trails
  • Apple Watch compatibility

Cairn is available for free on iOS devices. More »

Spyglass
Spyglass

Spyglass is the ultimate adventure app. It combines GPS with a compass, gyrocompass, and maps toolkit for memorable hikes. With its built-in star guide, you can navigate by the night sky map to find the nearest trail. 

Spyglass serves as binoculars, heads-up display, high-tech compass with offline maps, gyrocompass, GPS receiver, speedometer, and altimeter.

With Spyglass you can:

  • Save waypoints and navigate to them later
  • Use real-time augmented reality displays 
  • Measure distances, sizes, and angles
  • Operate in 3D
  • Track multiple targets simultaneously
  • Show estimated time of arrival
  • Use sextant, angular calculator, and inclinometer to find out the heights of and distance to objects

The Spyglass app is available for iOS and Android mobile devices. It's free only on Android. More »

Peakfinder
Peakfinder

If you love to hike in the mountains, take the Peakfinder app along with you. Just aim your smartphone camera at a mountain range, and the app overlays the names of the mountains and peaks—from the tallest mountain to modest foothills. 

Here's some more information on this hiking app:

  • Shows more than 350,000 peak names (with weekly updates)
  • Works offline and worldwide
  • Digital telescope to select less prominent peaks
  • Compass and motion sensors
  • Real-time rendering of surrounding landscape for 200 miles

The Peakfinder app is available for iOS and Android mobile devices. More »

Campfire
Campfire

When you need a place to spend the night, the Camp Finder app can help you out. This app helps you locate and navigate to many campgrounds, and you can read reviews about service quality left by other campers.

Camp Finder app also:

  • Sorts more than 19,000 campgrounds by activities, distance, and amenities
  • Lists dog and kid-friendly camps
  • Searches for camps that use camping club discounts
  • Searches for camps with cable TV, hot showers, and 30 amps
  • Shows a local map for the campground with nearby attractions

The Camp Finder app is available for iOS and Android mobile devices. More »

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