I will admit that I'm not always a keen hiker. I definitely categorize myself more as a city dweller and my form of exercise is drop-in dance classes.
That being said, during the pandemic my best friend became very outdoorsy and a lover of all types of hikes. So, when she moved in with me, I found myself going on many more hikes.
Since my boyfriend is from Kamloops, we've had guided hikes up the beautiful mountains in Kamloops. And friends from the Lower Mainland have also introduced us to easier hikes in North Vancouver.
But when we were planning our trip to Whistler, we didn't have anyone with hiking expertise to lean on. Plus, with a large dog, we needed to know what our options were to include everyone in our hiking trip. My friend, Laura, has tried many hiking apps and had settled on using the free version of AllTrails.
Lucky for us, I was able to access AllTrails Pro and test it out on our trip.
After using it for a weekend, I wanted to let you know how my experience was and all the other details I think you should know before you decide to spend your hard earned money on the premium version!
Let's get into it...
What Is AllTrails Pro?
Before I dive into my personal experience, let me give you a quick rundown on what AllTrails Pro is.
In its essence, AllTrails Pro, or AllTrails Plus, is the beefed-up version of the free AllTrails app, which offers a trove of trail maps, reviews, and photographs to guide you in your wilderness ventures. AllTrails Pro has a few additional features that aren't available for users who are on the free version, which many people find very useful.
As a new hiker, it was eye-opening to see all of the options available on a hiking app. And since Laura has used the free version AllTrails, as well as other hiking apps, it was interesting to have her perspective too!
How to Use AllTrails+
Explore AllTrails Web Version & Mobile App
It's super easy to access this hiking companion app since it's available in both web and mobile app formats.
The web version, accessible on any standard browser, offers a robust and user-friendly layout with a wealth of information right at your fingertips. It's perfect for those deep-dive planning sessions where you can take the time to explore trails, check out reviews, and marvel at photos uploaded by fellow adventurers.
On the flip side, the mobile app has the same functionalities but with the added advantage of mobility.
The user-friendly design and intuitive interface make it a breeze to use, even when you're on the move. Whether you're lounging on your couch or resting during a hike, the AllTrails Pro mobile app ensures you're always just a tap away from the info you need.
Use the App to Plan Beforehand
As I said above I think it's important to get to know both the web and mobile versions before you start a trail.
My opinion may be a little different, but I found the web version more helpful. This is because I'm a pre-planner and enjoyed browsing through the web version when trying to deep dive into the different hiking options.
But the mobile app was helpful to share the final contenders with friends and while we actually did the hike.
Whichever version you use, AllTrail+ lets you scout out your desired route, providing details about distance, estimated time, elevation gain, and trail conditions. You can even filter trails based on difficulty level or if they're dog-friendly, kid-friendly, or offer wheelchair accessibility.
Some of its additional filters are not always accurate so it's important to double check!
With AllTrail Pro you're able to download maps for offline use—this was a fantastic feature, especially when venturing into areas with sketchy cell reception.
Plus, seeing other hikers' reviews and photos gives you a taste of what to expect, helping you prepare adequately for your adventure.
Track Your Route on AllTrails+
Now that you've done the planning before you start adventuring, what should you do with the app once you're at your desired hike?
I found that once we got out on the trail, I didn't use it quite as heavily but it had quite a few handy features.
For instance the GPS tracking feature, which you can use to track your journey in real-time, ensuring you stick to your planned path. This feature, coupled with offline maps, saved us from a wrong turn or two.
The Lifeline feature, exclusive to Pro users, is a standout for safety. It allows you to share your real-time location with chosen contacts, providing that extra layer of security, especially when hiking solo or in more remote areas.
Share Your Experience After
After you’ve conquered your trail, AllTrails Pro offers a platform to share your experience with the hiking community. You can rate the trail, write a detailed review, and upload photos to give others a glimpse of your adventure.
This social aspect of AllTrails+ has created a supportive and engaged community of hikers, all willing to share their insights and experiences. I've found these firsthand accounts incredibly useful for future hikes, and adding my own feels like I'm contributing to that community spirit.
Want to try it out too? Use our promotional code Pilotplans25 when you sign up for an AllTrails+ membership.
AllTrails Plus Key Features
When I signed up to AllTrails Pro, I hadn't really used much of the free version. But when I consulted my friend she was definitely impressed by some of the premium-only available features!
Here's a quick rundown on the main differences, and then I'll go into my favorite paid features...
Offline and On Point: Staying the Course
AllTrails Pro's offline maps feature was really handy. It's by far my favorite and most useful feature of the premium AllTrails membership, especially since I use a provider with very questionable cell service anywhere but downtown Vancouver.
I assure you that if you trek into regions where cell reception becomes as elusive as Big Foot, the ability to download maps ahead of time is reassuring. We consulted the map quite a few times on our trip and it was accurate and helpful.
The GPS tracking felt like our personal guide, ensuring we didn’t end up veering too far from our path!
Stay Alert: Never Miss a Turn Again
Navigating tricky trails can be a daunting task, especially for someone who's newer to this whole hiking thing. Enter AllTrails Pro's wrong turn alert feature!
As nifty as a GPS-savvy fairy godmother, this function warns you when you veer off the correct path.
Unfortunately, when I turned on this function it didn't work very well for me. I even turned on the sound to my phone and didn't get any loud notification.
Although the idea is great, in my experience, they need to keep improving on it for now...
Elevate Your View: 3D Maps and Flyovers
AllTrails Pro took my map-reading experience from 2D to a whole new dimension—literally!
The 3D maps and flyover features transformed my screen into a virtual, aerial exploration tool. It was like having a bird’s-eye view of the trail, allowing me to visualize the terrain and understand the landscape before setting foot on the trail.
More than just a flashy perk, this feature offered real, practical insight. It helped the group decide which trail was most appropriate and helped us prepare for the journey ahead.
Another paid feature that is similar to this is that AllTrails+ offers you more details, and they're often in real time! This'll be important key info points like air quality, satellite weather, and fire history. All very useful things to know before you set out for a long, difficult hike.
Lifeline: Keep Your Loved Ones Informed
This didn't apply to me during my use, but the Lifeline feature allows you to keep your friends and family informed about your location when you're off exploring the wilderness. It's especially handy for those who love to go solo hiking!
How Much is AllTrails Pro?
Now you know more about using the app and the steps I used to make the most out of it. But what does it cost to get access to AllTrails+?
AllTrails Pro isn’t overly expensive, but if you're not an avid hiker, it may be an expense that isn't worth it. At $35.99 per year, you might hesitate, especially if hiking is just a casual pastime for you.
That being said, if you're a regular on the trails or even beginners keen on gaining confidence in the wild, like me, it's a solid investment.
Because of some of it's helpful features, it can definitely be a much needed companion for those who are just starting out but are looking to make hiking a more regular past-time!
Problems With AllTrails+: A Few Speed Bumps
Now, I'd be remiss if I didn't share a few challenges I faced with AllTrails Pro. I already mentioned the "wrong turn" feature didn't work for me the way I had hoped. Again, love the idea but it needs some improvements before it's actually useful!
Another issue is that the app occasionally misjudges the difficulty level of trails. My friend did say she found some trails to be either easier or harder than their categorization.
Also, searching for specific trail features could be smoother. If you're hunting for a trail that’s dog-friendly and flaunts a waterfall, patience is your ally.
Hopefully the app developers take this into account. As far as I can see the AllTrails team is proactive and regularly incorporate updates to improve user experience.
General Safety Tips for Hiking
Although AllTrails Pro is a great companion app, it shouldn't be the only essential hiking gear that you have with you! Here are some tips on staying safe while hiking, including some items you shouldn't leave home without:
- Take advantage of AllTrails Pro features: I mean that you should definitely download the offline maps, print out a paper version (another cool pro feature), and share your hiking location with your people!
- Bring a separate GPS: Because we don't want to rely solely on our phones.
- Remember to bring food & water: These are essentials, even if it's a shorter hike! You can also bring along an electrolyte drink—easily purchased at the drugstore.
- Check the weather conditions before you go: Try to avoid dangerous seasons or extreme temperatures. If it's heat season, time your hike to be earlier or later in the day.
- Wear the right clothes and a pair of reliable hiking shoes: Make sure that your hiking shoes are up to the task and that they fit properly!
- Remember to pack your sunscreen and bug spray: Even if it's not an overly sunny day out, you should be packing sunscreen. Bug spray is also important to keep ticks and other bugs off of you.
Is AllTrails Pro Worth It?
So, would I recommend AllTrails Pro? As a rookie hiker who wants to continue trail exploring more regularly, my answer is a resounding yes.
It's been like a patient, knowledgeable friend guiding me into the world of hiking. While it has a few shortcomings, its got lots of benefits for beginners like me seeking confidence and reassurance.
All in all, AllTrails Pro may not be perfect, but as a beginner, I've found its aid invaluable. Whether you're a novice hiker like me, or a seasoned pro like my friend, I believe AllTrails Pro can be a beneficial tool on your trail adventures.
It's definitely worth the small subscription fee if you're going to be using it on a regular, or even semi-regular, basis.
My Rating: 4.1/5
- Offline map feature to keep you connected
- More map details
- 3D view of hikes
- Lifeline feature to keep loved ones informed
- Affordable for regular hikers
- 1% back to the planet
- Print paper versions of maps
- Pricey if you don't hike a lot
- Additional pro features aren't super functional
- Wrong turn alerts doesn't work well
Be Prepared for Your Next Trip Through the Wilderness!
With that said, I hope you've got a better idea whether AllTrails Pro is the app you need on your outdoor adventures! Whether you decide to go for the free or premium version, remember to prepare so that you're safe no matter where you're exploring.
Don't forget to plan out your entire trip on a reliable, easy-to-use trip planner. Sounds like a job for Pilot.