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5 Best Hiking Apps with GPS for iPhones to Try in 2022

Best hiking apps

In this article, we will be talking in detail about the training and how to do it, its suitability, advantages, disadvantages, and much more stuff related to the training. But most importantly, we will be reviewing our 5 best hiking apps with GPS for iPhones, to help you on your hiking journey and make you enjoy the adventure. 

If you live in the countryside, or in a place where there are hills, mountains, and untouched nature, you must’ve gone hiking at least once in your life. It is a very popular sport that can be both recreational and challenging. So, let’s talk about hiking, its pros, and cons, some equipment recommendations, and most importantly the 5 best hiking apps with GPS for iPhones you can use.

What is Hiking?

Simply said, hiking is a sport or a type of training where you go on long walks on nature’s untouched roads. Some of these roads can be easier to walk on than others, but they always offer a journey full of challenges and fun. 

This is training that benefits everyone and depending on where you are doing it, offers different types of experiences and effects on the body. There are two main places where you can do this training.

The first one is in the mountains. There are some pretty challenging roads to walk on and if you are a person who loves to be challenged by nature, and enjoys the adrenaline rush it offers, then you should consider doing this type of training. But keep in mind that you should be ready and fit in order to do it effectively and safely.

The second place is the countryside. So, maybe reading about the mountains scared you because you enjoy walking safely with the purpose of relaxing. If that is the case, we can recommend you to stay out of the mountains and find yourself a peaceful, natural road in the countryside where you will escape from everyday life and relax. This option is recommended mainly for absolute beginners, overweight people, and the elderly. 

Some Pros and Cons of Hiking


There are some very beneficial effects that this type of training offers, but of course, they come with some disadvantages. Let’s start with the advantages before seeing what those disadvantages are. 

Pros: 

  • Helps with fat loss
  • Improves the health of the cardiovascular system
  • Improves the health of the respiratory system
  • Amazing stress reliever
  • Can prevent diseases like diabetes type 2
  • Increased energy and mood throughout the day
  • If done with friends, it’s a great social activity 

Quite the list, huh? Let’s see if the cons are going to overshadow the pros. 

Cons:

  • Requires some equipment
  • Depending on the roads, the weather, and the wildlife, it can be dangerous
  • If you don’t have a good guide, you might get lost. This is where the best hiking apps can really help you.
  • Sometimes it can be very, very exhausting. Especially if you go on a hike that’s above your exercise limits.

Let’s put some focus on the last disadvantage first and talk about how to improve your fitness level and increase those exercise limits.

hiking

Recommended exercises for beginners, intermediates, and advanced hikers

The best exercise to get better at hiking is, you guessed it, hiking. If you want to improve and become a better hiker you should try and walk on longer and slightly harder roads from time to time. 

Besides that, you can work on that goal at the gym or at home, too. The main focus of your workouts should be improving the strength and endurance of the leg and core muscles. 

We will now recommend some of the most effective exercises to do so:

  • Walking lunges (improving strength, balance, and load tolerance)
  • Band Walks (improved balance and lateral strength)
  • Box Step-ups (increasing the climbing strength)
  • Squats (best for building strength in the leg and hip muscles)
  • Stair Climbing (a good outdoor alternative)

By doing these exercises you will improve your strength and stamina which will make your hiking journey easier, safer, and most importantly, more enjoyable. Do them 2-3 times a week, on separate days from the hike.

Equipment for hiking

We’ve said how hiking is one of the most popular sports, and we want to share with you some of the industry data to prove it. According to Grand View Research, the hiking gear market was valued at $4.5 billion on a global level and is expected to rise to $7.4 billion. Those are some big numbers right there.

Now, If you are serious about hiking you should consider buying the equipment needed and be a part of this market. The equipment helps you do the hiking properly, effectively, and most importantly, safely. 

Here are some of the equipment and the reason you need it:

  • Hiking Shoes (some roads can be tough, so you need those to walk those roads easily and to avoid any foot injuries caused by weird food positioning and bad weather)
  • Backpack (A strong, quality, waterproof backpack to store food, water, clothes, and other smaller equipment)
  • Clothes that will make the weather more tolerable. 
  • Small first-aid kit (Hiking can be dangerous and you never know when you might need this)
  • Navigation (a compass, map, or even better, a hiking GPS app on your phone)

We’ve learned about the basics of hiking as a sport, and now it’s time to focus on the last piece of equipment mentioned, which is a good and reliable hiking GPS app. We will talk about these types of apps to analyze their practical usefulness, and then go through and talk in detail about our 5 best hiking GPS apps for iPhone.

Phone hiking apps

With the advancement of technology, hiking is much easier to do today. Now, because of the best hiking apps, guidance through unknown roads is much more accessible and simplified for everyone. Having an easy-to-use guide on your phone and not needing to bring a compass or a map in order to know where you are going brings much more comfort and safety feeling for the person that is hiking.  

This is the reason that many amateur hikers are going on a hiking journey they wouldn’t have gone to if it wasn’t for these apps. And as the industry data stands, their usage will rise more and more by the year as they are now irreplaceable and a very necessary piece of hiking equipment.

hiking app

What do the best hiking apps offer?

Using a hiking app isn’t useful only because of its GPS features. The specific features vary from one app to another but most of the best hiking apps are recording the route, the pace, the elevation, and the distance walked. Also, many of these apps have trail maps where you only have to follow the road. 

Other useful features some of the best hiking apps have is the location sharing and the built-in first aid and survival tips that can really come in handy in some unfortunate situations. Since this sport can be dangerous, having these types of features should be a must-have for every app out there. 

There are maybe twenty to thirty reliable hiking apps to use, some with better features than others, some completely free, and some costing from around $5 to $30 or $40. 

Which ones to use is up for personal preference, but if you want to have the best experience you will have to use one of the best hiking apps out there. 

To make your choice easier, we’ve narrowed the list down to five of our favorite hiking apps with GPS that you can use on your iPhones.

Our five best hiking apps with GPS for iPhones to try

GAIA

GAIA map

Gaia is one of the best and most used hiking apps out there right now. It was created as a website by Anna and Andrew Johnson back in 2008 and shortly after, in 2009 they rebranded it to the GAIA app be know, use and love now. 

Usable on almost every Apple device, with its easy-to-use interface and accuracy, the enormous number of maps, the feature that allows offline usage, and the ability to record and organize tracks it is giving you everything you need to have a great hiking adventure. 

When you are ready to go on that adventure, you can either choose a destination provided by GAIA or enter the coordinates of your choosing and let the app guide you. After finishing that hike, you can then easily save the route and easily access it whenever you want. 

One of the problems when hiking is going to destinations where there isn’t any network coverage or even if there is it’s so bad that your GPS navigation is not working. Luckily, this isn’t a problem with GAIA since you can easily download any track of your choice and access the map in an offline mode. 

There are a variety of maps offered categorized under the “type” tab where you gain access to satellite, topographic, road, NatGeo, and weather maps. Also, if you go to the “activity” tab you can choose hiking, backpacking, camping, and offroad options to customize the journey however you please.

As for the price, you can use the free version in order to enjoy most of the features GAIA is offering. However, if access to all the maps and many useful features including the offline mode is important to you, then paying a yearly price of $39.99 for the premium subscription might be a good choice. 

If what you read made you think about using this app for your next hiking adventure, feel free to read the detailed Gaia review and make the final decision.

AllTrails

alltrails review

Founded by Russell Cook in 2010, and now 12 years later with more than ten million satisfied users around the world, AllTrails is a top choice among people who enjoy nature activities like hiking, running, backpacking, rock climbing, and more. 

It’s easily accessible via their app or the website and is offering a great and unique community-driven hiking GPS-tracking experience where you can share your routes, and add comments, reviews, and pieces of advice for people to read before going on a hike. This can be helpful to learn more information such as the type of the road, and its vegetation. 

The app has over fifty thousand recorded trails in the whole world and depending on your location it can recommend one based on your previous journeys, or you can search for trails made by the app or other users (including yourself).

If you want to get more specific, there is an amazing filtering option where you can choose a trail based on the average duration of the trip, its difficulty, the type of activity, others’ ratings, and whether it is suitable for your kids or your dogs, and much more. 

There is also an offline mode that is simpler than the one GAIA is offering. Here, if not connected to the internet, you just need to choose a map of your desire and the app will automatically load it and show your current location.

Apart from these features, AllTrails is offering another very useful one, called Lifeline. With Lifeline, you are able to share your location with an emergency contact of your choosing. You can constantly update your location to tell them that you are safe, but if you haven’t finished the hike in the estimated amount of time, the app will notify the contact so they can act if something bad happened. 

These last two features are not free and come with the AllTrail Pro version of the app. To test them, you can use the 7-day trial period, and then buy that version for a once-a-year cost of $29.99, or a three-year cost of $59.99 and get more features like downloading maps, no ads, alerting notifications if you are walking on a wrong route, and much more. 

This is another great app you should consider using. If you want to know more about it and get more information before using it, read our in-detail review of AllTrails.

Komoot 

komoot Discover

Komoot is another excellent choice for all the hikers, bikers, and backpackers who would love to use a solid app on their adventures. It will navigate you, help you plan your journey, and show you different routes while offering more of its features. 

When choosing the hiking destination you can easily filter the options and choose a route of your liking. This means that you can choose characteristics like the difficulty of the hike, the elevation, and the surface type, or you can find a route where there are interesting things along the road. 

There is an option to discover a hike or start one on your own. If you enjoyed it, you can save the route in order to use it some other time, and you can also add highlights to some spots that left an impression on you or are some dangerous or tricky places to look out for on the next hike.

The navigation of this app is phenomenal and since it includes many regions and maps, it works globally. What makes the navigation even better is the voice guidance that can come in very handy when using earphones. 

You can also choose a map depending on your preference. The options available are Komoot’s map, Google Maps, Google Satellites, OpenStreetMap, and OpenCycleMap each offering different features for different purposes. 

The paid version of the app offers you the usage of offline features and lets you use the whole map. There is a catch when using the free version because it lets you use one single region. To buy one different area, you will have to pay $3.99 or $8.99 for a bundle of regions. If this is too complicated, there is a $29.99 option and with its purchase, you are getting access to all the regions this app has on a global level. Buying either of these packages will get you access to the offline feature of Komoot. 

This is an interesting way of selling the services because if you are hiking only locally and close to your home, you are getting a bargain by buying that $3.99 package. 

Either way, this is an app that does its job very well and is worth trying out. If you are not fully convinced and want to learn more about it, then you can check out our Komoot review article where we go through everything Komoot does best and also the things it is lacking. 

PeakVisor

peakvisor

Now, this is a little different, but still, a very useful and cool app to have as an option on your hiking adventures. PeakVisor does all the things a hiking GPS app needs to do like planning a hiking route, showing the elevation, and the estimated finishing time while offering a unique feature that can come in handy. 

The feature we are talking about is the 3D Map. Using the augmented reality (AR) on your iPhone, PeakVisor will create a 3D overlay that shows you all the mountains, waterfalls, and even castles around you including all the information needed about them, and even a Wikipedia link to learn more.

With this option, this app differs from every other hiking app because it provides you with a map where you can see the hiking trails and all the peaks around you, and based on that information plan a hiking route and enjoy one of the most precise navigation apps out there.

The best part is that PeakVisor has millions of mountains from all around the world, from shortest to tallest, so you will enjoy using it, whether you are a professional or an amateur. Also, you can enjoy some views, or check the terrain of all the places available without having to be there. 

You can also use all the features even where there is no internet available. With the app’s offline mode every map can be loaded and all the information will be shown. 

However, to use all the features, as seen before with every app, you will have to pay. You can use the free version on your iPhone and have a great experience, but as soon as you go offline, the app will become unusable. 

So, to make the offline mode usable, as well as the professional photography tools and the feature that allows you to create custom trails, you will have to unlock the PRO version of the app by choosing one of the three subscription packages available. 

There is a monthly one that costs $3.49, and a yearly one priced at $29.99. And if hiking is something you do very often, and you trust PeakVisor to be your guide, you can buy the “Hiking and Skiing Forever” subscription plan with a one-time cost of $89.99. 

So, that was a quick summary of the PeakVisor app. We enjoyed using this one, and if you think that you will like it too, check our detailed PeakVisor review where you can read about all the things we liked and some that we think need improvement. 

Hiking Project 

Hiking project

We’ve reviewed some, if not the best hiking apps with GPS that you can use on your iPhone. They had amazing features, but they all came with a price, so for everyone who doesn’t want to pay for this kind of app, we got you. 

Created by REI, an equipment company most hikers know, Hiking Project is a simple, easy-to-use, and most importantly completely free app that will be your guide when you go on your journeys. Oh and the coolest thing is that it doesn’t even need cellular data to function and it doesn’t contain any ads.

The Hiking Project has a huge database of hiking trails from around the world that you can choose from. Unlike the other apps where you can search for a trail, on this one you will have to scroll through the map to find the trail of your taste. 

When looking for a trail you can click on it and read a description about the trail as well as some useful information like elevation, other people’s ratings, tips and reviews about the trail, and also some data about how difficult the trail is. 

Another cool feature is that the app works together with all the users. If you are someone who is using the app you can add you to trace your route and then add it as a trail for other people to follow. Along with the trail, you can add all the information about it as well as some photos from some highlights along the road, or places where people should walk more carefully. 

So this might not be an all-fancy app with a huge amount of features like the previous apps we’ve talked about, but it has the most basic but also most important features a hiking GPS app should have to go on a nice hiking adventure. 

As a free app with no ads, we think that Hiking Project is a good choice for all recreational hikers who just want to go on a simple hike using a simple app to keep them from going on the wrong road. 

If you don’t want to pay for a hiking guide on your phone and think that maybe this one is the best choice for you, read our Hiking Project review article where we talk about every single feature of the app from A to Z. Learn more about it and if you like the app, download it on your iPhone and have fun on your next hiking voyage.

Conclusion

Hiking has always been a sport that many people are practicing. Everyone wants to go on a long walk in nature once in a while, some may like it to be a simple and relaxing walk, while some like to feel their adrenaline going up and go on a more challenging trip. 

We’ve talked about the importance of the proper equipment when doing this, and we specifically focused on navigation. Our parents and grandparents used maps and compasses, today, technology allows us to use GPS apps as they are now an irreplaceable navigation tool that can be used. 

These apps have been around for quite some time, but as time passes they become more advanced and accurate and we can confirm this with the review of the five apps we went through.

In this article, we chose our favorite apps of this kind and briefly introduced them to you. As you could see they were all pretty similar in their core and differing only in some features and, of course, the price. 

How to prepare for a hike? 

We’ve recommended the best hiking GPS apps you can use, but this article wouldn’t be complete if we don’t give you some practical advice you can effectively use along with the apps. 

Hiking isn’t your everyday walk, and it requires at least some planning and preparation beforehand. Here are, in our opinion, one of the most important things you can put on your hike checklist:

  • If you are a beginner, plan a simpler hike (choose a hike where the road is easy to walk on and doesn’t have much elevation in order not to get too exhausted)
  • Get as much information as you can about the trail you are planning to go to (this is where the hiking GPS apps that have the feature showing information about the trail are coming in handy)
  • Be sure to drink lots of water (both throughout the day, and especially when hiking as it can be exhausting and easily cause symptoms of dehydration. Also, try to pack it in a bottle that won’t warm it up, and always pack more water than you may think you will need)
  • Eat, and especially eat lots of carbohydrates (to go on a hike, you will have to make sure that you are well-energized since this is a taxing sport. Just make sure that you don’t eat right before going on the hike, try to do it around an hour to an hour and a half before) 
  • Pack your carbohydrates (since you are in nature with no stores nearby, having a quick source of sometimes much-needed energy can come in very handy. Same as with water, pack more than you think you’ll need. It’s better to be sure that you have enough and use what’s left on the next hike than to come in short) 
  • Always check the weather when you are planning the hike (don’t overestimate yourself by thinking that the rain is nothing because it can really make your relaxing journey completely the opposite)
  • Bring a change of clothes or waterproof clothes (do this if you think that there are chances of rain, however small they are) 
  • If you are going alone, be sure to tell someone where you are going (we don’t mean to scare you with this tip, but you never if you will need someone’s help) 
  • Protect your skin with sunscreen (and if you are going on a longer hike, be sure to pack the bottle in order to reapply the SPF two-three hours later)
  • Remember that hiking is a relaxing sport and not a race (It can be tempting to race when you are with friends, but it’s definitely not a smart thing to do. The only exception is if you are using hiking as a sport to seriously get in shape. That way you will have to beat your previous records)
  • Try to learn some of the basic hiking bon-ton (This is a rule that is very important among the hikers, and they will very much respect if you have some likable hiking manners when you meet them on the trails)
  • And of course, get quality sleep (another everyday rule, but it’s especially important to be well-rested before the hike. No amount of food and water will compensate for a lack of energy caused by poor sleeping)

So, there you go. Those were our five best hiking apps with GPS for iPhones. Make sure to try them, choose your favorite one, and enjoy your next hiking adventure while also sticking to the tips we’ve shared with you. Have fun, and stay safe!