Hiking Tips: There’s An App for That

Unless you’re hiking a trail or area with no cell signal, there are some great apps for hiking. Below is a list of ones I use myself.


  • Track your route with your iPhone GPS while you travel. Ideal for walking tours, biking, running, hiking, sailing, driving and much more
  • See your travel map drawn while your trip is in progress
  • Plot camera pics and video on your map instantly
  • View stats (distance, speed, elevation and more) while tracking
  • View topo and terrain maps on your iPhone and download maps for offline viewing. Perfect for the outdoors and to avoid high roaming charges when traveling abroad



Hiker Alert

In its most simple form, HikerAlert is a Web-based software application which will automatically send an alert email and text message to your emergency contacts (your friends and family) if you, the HikerAlert member, don’t check in from an outdoor trip or other event by your scheduled return time.

  • Robust and User-Friendly Interface allows you to easily record the critical information search & rescue professionals would need to find you as quickly as possible, including details about yourself, your favorite trails, your vehicles, your hiking dogs, the outdoor equipment you carry and more. When the time comes to hit the trail, you can quickly create a trip report by simply clicking a few checkboxes and selecting your departure and return times. For overnight trips, you can also record a list of your planned campsites.
  • 2-way International Text Messaging System is used to automatically send you alert messages and to receive your status reports. Use HikerAlert near home or while abroad in over 150 countries.
  • Using Geo-Location Data, HikerAlert provides a current report of your local weather, as well as a recommended list of your local law enforcement agencies to call in case of trouble.
  • Mobile Phone Tracking enables you to drop digital “breadcrumbs” along your route, whenever you have a cell signal.
  • Social Network allows you to connect with your regular hiking partners, whose own vehicles, dogs and emergency contacts are automatically imported to your trip reports.
  • Advanced Partner Search helps you to find new partners by state, gender and outdoor activity.
  • In the case of an actual alert, HikerAlert will generate and provide a comprehensive, secure and easy-to-read report of your trip to your friends and family, with the intent of bringing you safely back home as quickly as possible.




Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.


Also check out AllTrails & Backpacker Magazine has a GPS app.

4 thoughts on “Hiking Tips: There’s An App for That

  1. Have you tried a stand-alone GPS? They’re pretty cool, too!
    The best hiking out here is in areas that aren’t covered by cell towers. If you want to hike in the North Cascades, for example, you won’t have reception for the last hour or more of the drive, let alone on the trail itself. And that story applies to most of the hiking around here to some extent.

    1. A stand alone gps is absolutely better for any trail. I highly recommend them, but for those weekend family hikers who aren’t as hardcore as some of us 🙂 and rely on their smartphone for just about everything, these apps can be helpful. As for you and I and our fellow true-hikers/ backpackers, we’ll stick with the stand alone.

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