3 Best Free Hiking Apps That You Must Start Using Now [2021]

Though you might be looking to spend an intimate time in nature, disconnected from everything, technology can work wonders when it comes to providing you with smart tools to enhance your experience.

In our world, there are apps for just about anything. You can find apps that will give you information, help you track certain activities, and some even do a combination of both. No matter your opinion on modern technology, the best free hiking apps around provide you with a ton of helpful tools.

In the digital age, applications are the pillars of the contemporary world. Finding the right one for you can be an important part of embracing just about any activity.

a smartphone with apps

The world of hiking has a lot of digital tools and applications you can enjoy using to get the most out of your experience no matter what you do and where you go

Before anything else, a good hiking app has to be useful, user-friendly, and bug-free. Some obvious options include applications that can help you map or find trails whenever that is and provide you with valuable statistics on your hiking journey.

Furthermore, there are social media apps designed to connect you with fellow hikers. Such kinds of apps really can bring your hiking experience into the twenty-first century.

In this article, I’m going to show you the top-rated apps that I’m sure you’ll find helpful in enhancing your hiking experience. Since they are all completely free, enjoy exploring these fun tools to see exactly what they can offer you.

Probably it’s good to mention that the list is short but comprising top-notch apps used by millions of people worldwide. For the geeky ones of you, the three apps below have Pro versions too if you decide to explore more advanced options. However, rest assured that the free versions do a really great job.

They are all available for IOS and Android.

Let’s dive in.

Quick Overview






All Trails

4.9/5 on Apple and 4.5/5 on Google Store

 IOS and Android



Gaia GPS

4.8/5 on Apple and 3.6/5 on Google Store 

 IOS and Android



Hiking Project

4.6/5 on Apple and 4.3/5 on Google Store

IOS and Android



All Trails

This is an application based on an amazing website that has been around for ages. All Trails is an app that brings you a variety of useful hiking information in a database that also lets you enjoy a simple community experience. See the video below.

At its core, All Trails is designed to help you find trails. Its database comprises more than 100 000 trails all around the world. It provides an entire collection of information that can help you easily locate exciting hikes thanks to a plethora of criteria.

You can search by a variety of handy features that help you find the best trail based on your personal preferences.

all trails app screeshot

All Trails is an unbelievably valuable source of information. The app allows not only finding hikes by location, but it also lets you learn valuable details about the trails.

It has information about national parks, too. It lets you see the difficulty of the hike, the kind of features that you might expect, and more.

For example, All Trails will tell you if the trail that you are looking at allow pets or not, or if it is unavailable during certain times of the year. I found it very useful when I day hiked in Algonquin Park, Canada.

all trailsapp hiking trails near me

Every single trail is equipped with a detailed description and even provides statistics like the incline of the hike or the maximum elevation. This makes it super easy for you to find hikes that match the exact criteria that you have.

You can also filter paths by kid friendly, and wheelchair friendly.

The app even allows you to download maps to your phone so you can easily stay on more technical hiking trails with no cell phone service. (UPDATE: that feature is included in the paid Pro version). As an added bonus, All Trails can track your hikes with a full collection of health stats that you will absolutely love.

all trails configuration options

One amazing selling point that comes with the app is the community aspect. This allows you to quickly and easily find information on trails directly from people who have hiked them. On All Trails, you can organize your hikes into different categories.

You have trails that you want to hike and trails that you have already hiked. When someone hikes a trail, they can post real time pictures to provide insight into the overall hike.

This can help people decide if the key features of the trail are truly all they are cracked up to be, thus having a better idea whether or not this trail is for them.

all trails hiking app features

In addition, people can write their own notes on the trails. Within these comments, you will find a wealth of information that can help you make educated decisions about the hikes you are looking at.

Users will post helpful advice and warnings around the places. You’ll learn when there is an increase in bear activity and the nearest parking spot to get to the trailhead quickly. These comments are all written by hikers to help you out.

Since the users can rate each trail, it is helpful to see which trails are must-sees and which ones might be better for a different time of the year.

All Trails is not just limited to hiking. It gives similar insights for camping, biking, and running. Another great feature is the ability of the app to provide driving GPS directions to a certain trail.

The app is fast and user friendly, and it’s regularly updated. With tons of positive reviews and millions of downloads, All Trails is a must for all geeky hikers no matter the skill level.

More info about All Trails HERE.

Gaia GPS

Launched in 2008 by TrailBehind, Inc, Gaia is known to provide crazy useful features across a variety of activities.

gaia gps hiking app

This popular application started out as a free backpacking app.  The developers have spent years pouring their heart and soul into its development to provide an even more powerful and helpful experience that covers a variety of activities.

The basis of this app is navigation, but the functionality that is built around it provides an amazing experience whether you’re looking for a day hike, planning a backpacking trip, going hunting, or spending time camping.

gaia gps navigation

The functionality built into the Gaia GPS app is contingent upon whether you’re using the basic application or becoming a premium member.

Both account types come with a ridiculous amount of functionality, making this a one stop shop when it comes to finding managing your outdoor excursion.

This app has a comprehensive trail database that allows you to easily locate hikes all around the world, making it the perfect tool to map your hiking or backpacking experience with.

gaia app

The app is filled with all kinds of known and lesser-known routes and provides helpful information and statistics on them as you begin to explore.

One major benefit is that Gaia lets you look specifically for hikes that are near you, making it easy to find the surrounding trails no matter your location.

You might be surprised to learn just how many there are nearby. That includes trails in national or provincial parks and reserves.

The real power behind Gaia relies on their ability to help you navigate and track your hikes with stunning accuracy and ease.

gaia app features

This app can not only seamlessly track and locate hikes but gather the information you need in order to navigate them whether you are online or offline.

Gaia GPS provides a collection of important information and even makes it possible for you to measure the distance for certain sections of the map if you are navigating in chunks or want to know how far away another feature might be.

With the offline mode, this application is a valuable tool for anyone venturing off deep into nature.

A particularly useful feature that aids your planning is the built in weather forecast. Gaia provides you with 24-72 hour overlay about the weather in your area.

gaia app screenshot

You can enjoy both topographical and satellite maps perfectly designed to suit your needs. Besides, the app makes it easy for you to collect complex statistics on a variety of different topics. You can collect and record data on a certain trail as well as your own performance data to get a good gauge on how you are doing.

This will help you track your pacing and timing to see how you are interacting with each trail. When you factor in the other functionality for other activities beyond hiking and backpacking, it is easy to see why this amazing app has such a great reputation.

A small downside of the app is that with the free license, your map is restricted to Gaia Topo, and you can’t make map downloads.

More info about Gaia GPS HERE.

Hiking Project

Part of REI, this is another app that can provide tremendous help to the avid adventurer. It gives a lot of the same information that some other applications do in a very easy-to-use interface.

hiking project

The best part – it’s free of advertising that often gets annoying and spoils the user experience. The app contains some in-app purchases, though.

Containing more than 220 000 miles of trails all over the globe, Hiking Project is all about getting the most out of your outdoor adventure.

With a basic yet intuitive user interface, this app provides a digital guidebook filled with practical descriptions to help you get educated on all nearby hikes.

hiking project navigation gps app

As an added bonus, it lets you see the top-rated itineraries near you so you can always chase for the best trail according to your goals.

The app lets you seamlessly add trails nearby to your favorites list so you can use them later when you decide to go explore the world around you. This makes it easy to remember all hikes you want to go on without having to store it in your mind or write it down.

Hiking Project makes navigating trails easy as pie by providing helpful maps that can be used offline.

hiking project app trails

It even allows you to track your own movements along a trail in offline mode so you can make sure you stay on course, even if you don’t have cell service.

This feature is particularly great for people taking on more challenging hikes or planning backpacking trips deep into the wilderness.

When you pair this with the social feature that connects users to provide feedback and helpful information about each trail, you can go into your next hike perfectly educated and ready to rise to the challenge.

hiking project bulgaria trails

This application is great for keeping everything focused on a pleasant and safe hiking experience.

As the developers claim – it has everything you need and nothing you don’t.

More info about Hiking Project HERE.


A good hiking app can do wonders for improving your overall hiking experience. Those three apps listed above well deserve their reputable image. They are skillfully developed to help you find hikes, track your progress, and connect you with like-minded individuals. They are fast and skillfully designed all for the purpose of creating an exciting and care-free outdoor endeavor.

No matter your tech level, you will love the user-friendly interfaces and the wealth of knowledge provided by these applications. Even if you’re skeptical at first, once you start using any of them, you will find that everything is so much easier.

These apps make it simple for you to locate and navigate through high quality hikes. By providing you with helpful tools and statistics and the ability to connect with fellow hikers, you’ll be walking each new trail like a seasoned pro even if you are just picking up the hobby for the first time.

Within these apps, there’s a variety of intelligent features that are helpful whether you’re looking for a fun day trip or you want a complete backpacking experience. As you begin to log your adventures, you will enjoy more and more how you build your hiking profile.

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Andrey - November 24, 2019

Dear Asen
Thank you very much for your fantastic website. It is amazing that you show people where to start and what steps to take towards their proper understanding of Hiking Apps. I hope more people will know about your website and follow your guidance.
Kind regards,

    Asen - November 24, 2019

    Hi Andrey,

    Thanks for the kind words. Happy trails!

Jessica - November 24, 2019

Hi Asen, thank you for the excellent review of these hiking apps. I find it’s often difficult to compare apps like this, and your post is incredible informative. I had no idea that Gaia offered so much detail and am looking forward to trying it out for my next trip!

Steven - November 24, 2019

All of these apps sound quite useful! I’m a beginner photographer, and would love to get out on some great hikes to get some awesome landscape and overall nature photos. I’m not a usual hiker however, and I think I could get a lot of use using these apps!

    Asen - November 25, 2019

    Hi Steven,

    The apps are indeed useful and I hope any of them will serve you well.

Theo - April 21, 2020

I’m working on an ultralight / adventure gear management app. The project is not released yet but you can sign up to a beta and help me test it.

    Asen - April 22, 2020

    Hi Theo,

    That sounds interesting. I’ll definitely try this out. Thanks!

Player - June 28, 2020

Hi, I will add one more, which is more similar to geocaching. It is Hill Hunter GPS https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.hh.hill_hunter

You have to visit and capture real hills around the world and you will get points for it. You can compare your standings with other users and win trophies quarterly and yearly in various challenges. It contains more than 400 000 capturable hills around the world.

I like it, it is catchy.

    Asen - June 29, 2020

    Hey that’s awesome. Never used this hiking app but will check it out.Having information about hills is great. Thanks for sharing.

Martin Ritter - October 12, 2020

Re: “The app even allows you to download maps to your phone so you can easily stay on more technical hiking trails with no cell phone service.” That is not a part of the free app, it is only available if you pay for the Pro version which requires you pay $29.99 up front for one year or $59.99 for three years.

    Asen - October 12, 2020

    Hi Martin,

    Thanks for pointing that out. I updated the article to reflect that change.

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