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16 Must-Have Hiking Apps to Download in 2023

Hiking’s soaring popularity means trails are busier than ever. In 2022, national parks saw record breaking visits. Stay ahead of the crowds and hike smarter by using the latest hiking apps. This ultimate guide reviews the 16 top hiking apps for 2023 every outdoor adventurer should download.

From all-in-one trail tools to specialized geomapping, these hiking apps offer something for everyone. Best of all, most are free or have free versions. Read on for an in-depth look at how these hiking apps can enhance safety, improve navigation, unlock insights and make your time in nature more enjoyable.

#1 AllTrails

With a robust database of over 100,000 trail maps contributed by users, AllTrails is like having a hiking buddy in your pocket. Features include:

  • Detailed topographic maps with popular trails highlighted
  • Crowdsourced trail reviews, difficulty ratings and photos
  • Recording and sharing your own trails
  • Save trails for offline access

As the most used outdoors app globally, AllTrails helps you discover new adventures. I love browsing trail descriptions and photos from fellow hikers before heading out.

#2 Gaia GPS

Serious backpackers need Gaia GPS. With advanced mapping tools, you can download detailed NatGeo topographic maps for offline access. Key features include:

  • Plan routes, view elevation profiles and track/share hikes
  • Location sharing and SOS functions
  • Document trails with photos and details
  • OnX add-on for property line maps

I always download maps with Gaia GPS before multiday treks off the grid. I once got caught in a bad storm and the app steered me safely back.

#3 PeakFinder

PeakFinder uses augmented reality so you can identify mountain peaks just by pointing your camera. Features include:

  • Compass overlay shows what peaks are in view
  • Information on 200,000 global peaks
  • Works offline after downloading data

Instead of wondering what that epic mountain is called, I just open PeakFinder! It came in handy when I was gaping at the Maroon Bells in Aspen.

#4 The Outbound

The Outbound app feeds my wanderlust with epic outdoor adventure stories from hikers worldwide. Other handy features include:

  • Outdoor activity recommendations based on location
  • Local guides to show you amazing trails
  • Gear reviews and expert tips

Whether I’m home or traveling, this app gives me insider intel to discover amazing new places to hike and roam off the beaten path.

#5 Outdooractive

Serious about tracking your hikes? Outdooractive provides advanced GPS and augmented reality tools for navigation, including:

  • Download global topographic and specialty maps
  • Waypoints, trail markers, tracking and route sharing
  • Skyline augmented reality to identify peaks

I use Outdooractive on every hike to track distance, elevation, pace and route. It provides all the data to analyze and improve my performance over time.

#6 Komoot

If you want hiking and biking routes tailored to your abilities, check out Komoot. Standout features:

  • Curated trail recommendations based on preferences
  • Detailed turn-by-turn navigation both on and offline
  • Route planning tools and elevation profiles

Komoot is like having a personal trail guide! It led me to an amazing hidden waterfall I never would have discovered on my own.

#7 REI Co-Op Hiking Project

REI’s Hiking Project app offers everything needed to plan adventures:

  • Trail guides, maps, elevation gain/loss and landmarks
  • Difficulty, scenic value, solitude ratings
  • Search by location, distance, destination

REI’s curated guides keep me informed. I particularly love the mileage and difficulty filters to find trails matching my fitness level and time constraints.

#8 Strava

Hikers who are competitive about stats and times will love Strava. You can:

  • Record hikes via GPS tracking to analyze performance
  • Join challenges, compare segment times with others
  • Build an online profile to share activities

I’m addicted to analyzing my hike stats on Strava and seeing how my segment times measure up. It really motivates me to improve!

#9 Rain Alarm

Caught in a downpour miles from the trailhead? Rain Alarm provides advance warning with:

  • Hyperlocal weather forecasts and radar
  • Customizable rain alerts
  • Weather widgets for at-a-glance info

I’ve used Rain Alarm’s alerts to seek shelter just before torrential thunderstorms rolled in. It provides peace of mind if the weather takes a turn.

#10 Trailforks

Mountain bikers and hikers alike love Trailforks for its wealth of trail data:

  • User-generated mountain biking and hiking trail maps
  • Track and record activities with GPS
  • Reviews, photos and conditions for trails worldwide

I use Trailforks whenever I’m exploring new singletrack in an unfamiliar area. The community-sourced intel helps me find the best trails.

#11 Avenza Maps

Download detailed topographic hiking maps from Avenza Maps with features like:

  • Global topographic, military and specialty geoPDF maps
  • View maps offline and use GPS tracking
  • Create and share routes with others

With Avenza Maps I can download USGS quad maps everywhere I hike for proper navigation when out of cell service. The geoPDFs integrate with my phone’s GPS.

#12 Backcountry Navigator

Backcountry Navigator lives up to its name with great off-grid tools:

  • Import and view interactive offline maps
  • Track your route, tag waypoints, view coordinates
  • Navigate using GPS and compass

I never hike deep backcountry without first downloading offline maps on Backcountry Navigator. It provides backup navigation and tracking if I lose the trail.

#13 Guthook Guides (Now FarOut)

For long trails, Guthook Guides offers digital guidebooks with:

  • Navigational tools and trail data
  • Topographic maps, route planning, and tracking
  • Points of interest and resupply stops

I used Guthook for the entire Appalachian Trail. It kept me on track and informed through the whole 2,190 miles!

#14 Suunto

Suunto helps hikers plan routes, navigate trails, and track fitness:

  • Detailed topographic maps with route planning
  • Save POIs and navigate to them offline
  • Sync sport modes and movement metrics across devices

I love how Suunto provides robust mapping and movement tracking – all in one sleek app tailored for the outdoors.

#15 OnX Offroad

OnX Offroad adds off-roading and land data:

  • Interactive US map with land ownership details
  • Track your route and save waypoints
  • Scouting tools to identify access roads and trails

Knowing land status is key for responsible off-trail hiking. OnX gives me this awareness along with great navigation.

#16 PeakVisor

For identifying distant peaks, use PeakVisor’s augmented reality:

  • Identify mountain peaks by aiming camera at landscape
  • Names, heights, and facts on 180,000+ peaks
  • Works offline after downloading data

Just point your camera to instantly ID peaks with PeakVisor! I have fun testing my mountain knowledge while hiking.


Equipping yourself with the best hiking apps can profoundly improve your outdoor adventures. Navigation, fitness tracking, weather alerts, and trail discovery all optimize time spent hiking. Consider your needs and download a few of these top-rated hiking apps before your next trip. Just be sure to prioritize safety from adequate gear to sharing your plans. Happy trails!