Travel Apps

Top 5 Best Hiking Apps (Free) You Need to Download in 2021

Updated on:  
July 25, 2021
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Taarika Rajani
Taarika Rajani
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Spending time outside is one of the best things you can do for your mind and body, and there’s no better way to get out in nature than hiking new trails. Whether you are a total beginner or a seasoned pro, there are always more peaks to summit.  Most of us take our phones everywhere we go so why not use technology to your advantage? From finding new trails to learning about must-see sights at a location, the best hiking apps can definitely help make your experiences more memorable.

Here are the top 5 best hiking apps you won’t regret downloading!

1. AllTrails (iOS, Android: Free/$29.99 annually)

AllTrails is one of the best hiking apps for novices and experts alike. All it takes is a few taps on your phone to find curated hiking, biking and running trails based on your preferred length and difficulty level. The app also lets you create custom trail maps, follow friends’ activity and read trail reviews from its user community. While the app’s premium paid version has additional features like offline off-route navigation and real-time overlays, the free version offers more than enough for most explorers.

AllTrails app preview on an iPhone
A preview of how the AllTrails app appears on your phone.

Why we love it:

At Pilot, our goal is to help our users live a happier life through shared experiences, and we find that AllTrails helps facilitates this really well. The app makes it easy for you to share custom maps, routes and experiences with family and friends. The reviews and pictures of many locations are also contributed by real people which definitely makes the app’s information more honest and reliable.

2. SpyGlass (IOS, Android: $5.99)

Spyglass is the best hiking app for outdoor navigation. With modern new features like augmented reality navigation, the app operates in 3D and shows you real-time object locations and overlays directions over images and maps. The app also has the power to turn your phone into a GPS receiver, altimeter, speedometer, star finder, coordinate converter, a pair of binoculars and more.

Screenshots of SpyGlass mobile interface
Just a few screenshots of all the information Spyglass offers you.

Why we love it:

Spyglass’s gazillion features will turn you into a proficient navigator and explorer. What’s more, the advanced and detailed object location data features can really elevate your wildlife spotting or star gazing experiences.

3. The Hiking Project (IOS, Android: Free)

The Hiking Project is the best hiking app that uses community-sourced content to help you pick and choose your next, perfect trail. Users submit information like route descriptions, images, and reviews which are then vetted by an in-house team before they are added to the app. The hiking app basically functions as a living guidebook that is constantly updated with new information and more reviews. The app also works offline, so you can use this app literally anywhere your explorations may take you.

The Hiking Project Mobile Interface
You can use The Hiking Project app to learn about featured hikes in your area and read their reviews.

Why we love it:

All the information on The Hiking Project is contributed by real hikers who have actually ‘tested’ the trails they write about. This means the app includes incredibly useful tips that can’t be found on just any old website. The Hiking Project is the best hiking app to learn specific things like how much water to bring or the best place to park your car to start off a particular hike right. Another amazing bonus is that the app is free, and that it doesn’t have any built-in annoying pop-up advertisements which makes for a great user experience.

4.  PeakFinder AR (IOS, Android: $4.99)

Attention budding mountaineers - this app is for you! PeakFinder AR contains information about more than 650,000 peaks all over the world, and helps you identify the ones you find during your trips. From Mount Everest to that small hill you can see in the distance, PeakFinder AR uses your phone’s location and camera to label the peaks you are looking at. The app also offers this labeling and naming feature within a 360 degree panoramic display.

PeakFinder AR Mobile Preview
You can use the app’s camera and photo editor mode to capture locations and share them with friends.

Why we love it:

Hiking is as much about discovery and exploration as it is about health. PeakFinder AR lets you learn all the names of the new peaks you stumble upon, so the next time you’re talking about your weekend hike you can say you saw ‘Mount Owen,’ instead of just another, nondescript ‘hilly area’.

5. Cairn (iOS, Android: Free/$26.99 annually)

Cairn is one of the best hiking apps that can help you stay safe during your adventures. You can use the app to share your real-time progress and location with family or friends for their (and your) piece of mind. Cairn also helps you plan your route by offering helpful estimates of how long you will take to complete a particular trail based on personalised data, and also points out areas that don’t have strong cell reception ahead of time.  If you take longer than expected for your hike, the app will also notify your emergency contacts to let them know.  The premium version of the app lets you use its features offline, and automatically sends live updates to your contacts.

Cairn app features
Cairn lets you share trip progress, find high coverage areas and navigate to safety!

Why we love it:

Hiking is super fun but can also be dangerous if you are exploring unknown or unfamiliar areas. Cairn helps you get home safely and find your way back to where you need to be.

We Want To Hear From You!

Do you have a go-to hiking app that you use to upgrade your adventures? If not, let us know the one thing that helps you enjoy your hikes and outdoor escapades to the fullest. Also tell us if you have a dream walk/hike/bike ride you’ve been meaning to take :)

Join Our Travel Family

Use our in-depth review of these best hiking apps to pick the one that best suits your preferences, and start planning your next trip filled with fun and exciting hiking adventures.

Speaking of taking and planning trips with your friends and family, have you heard of Pilot? It’s a social travel planner we've developed that lets you plan trips and make meaningful experiences together with friends, family, and even work colleagues.

If you're feeling uninspired or overwhelmed on where you should travel or hike, why got you as well. Try out our prescribed travel-based newsletter, FlightDeck. It's a place where we share crazy new places to travel, cool travel news to know, and even our crazy travel stories. If you're stuck as to where to go, FlightDeck will definitely inspire you to crazy and amazing places to travel!

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