Adventuring: The hiking apps I use to find my way into the outdoors

I’ve been asked what apps I use when I go hiking or traveling and I figured I’d give you an inside look into my phone. I don’t think you really need seven different apps like me but I’d recommend two or three.

I’ll tier these out in order of importance.


My outdoors apps



  • REI National Parks– If you’re heading into the national parks, this is a must-have. This app provides 1) A trail map throughout the park 2) The “Gems” which are the ‘must sees’ 3) The “Best Hikes.” Additionally, there are “Family Friendly” options and a “To-Do” list to keep track of everything you want to do. It also includes Local Info, Visiting Tips, Camping/Lodging Info, Food/Drink options, Tours/Shuttle Information, and lastly any other pertinent information. This is the GOAT of all apps in my opinion.
  • All Trails– Aptly named, this has all the trails and is fantastic for finding local hikes, while also giving you the option to ‘favorite’ hikes which will save them for future use. If you’re not in the national parks, this is a great one to use.

Great Resources

  • Cairn– This is a really cool app that focuses on safety. Probably not necessary for short day hikes, Cairn allows you to send designated contacts a text message letting them know where you will be going and when you will return. Once you’re done, you can send them a text saying you’re okay. Your contacts can also click the link and see your GPS position. I’ve only used this once when I hiked Humphrey’s Peak and my mom got worried because the group I was with was a lot slower than I had expected and I was late checking back in. (In other words, it works.)
  • Hiking Project– This is another REI app that is similar to the National Parks app as it gives you gems and featured hikes but for local areas around you. I haven’t had much time using this app but it’s growing on me just since I started writing this.
  • The Outbound– This is one of my favorite adventure apps/websites. They have a lot of user-generated content detailing adventures they’ve done, while also having different types of articles that nature enthusiasts will enjoy. It also provides local options to explore outside.

Cool To Browse Through

  • Yonder- This is almost an entirely user-generated review of hikes (mainly through photos). I rarely use this and probably don’t recommend using this if you have Instagram.
  • National Parks- The bottom left one in the photo above, it’s more of an academic guide to the national parks (with maps). What is unique is they offer ‘perks’ (ie: discounts) for lodging/tours/food so it might be good to do a brief check prior to your trip to see if you can score some discounts. The caveat, they require you to buy a $29 yearly membership to use those discounts. The only way this is worth it is if the discounts end up being greater than the yearly cost. So tread smartly.

I hope this list helps narrow down the choices for you and gives you the motivation to go find some cool spots in your local areas as well as start planning your trips across the country and abroad.

Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.

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