15 best hiking apps to download in 2024

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In partnership with MapMagic

We share the best hiking apps to download this year, from navigation and route planning to first aid and stargazing

Occasionally, when Kia and I are driving somewhere remote – the Kalahari in Namibia, say, or the Australian Outback – she will marvel at the fact that travellers used to do this with only paper maps. Unlike me, Kia grew up in inner city London and had little opportunity to venture into the outdoors. As such, she never learnt how to use a compass and map or how to build a campfire, or any number of the skills a frequent hiker should have.

Thankfully, a host of hiking apps has made the outdoors less daunting for novice and experienced hikers alike. While it’s still important to master basic skills, these apps have made it easier than ever before to venture into nature. To help you get started, we have gathered the best hiking apps to download in 2024.

Best hiking apps to download in 2024

Below, we take a look at the best hiking apps, based on user ratings in the App Store and our own experiences on a host of treks including the Arctic Circle Trail, Aconcagua, Everest Base Camp trek and K2 Base Camp trek.

1. MapMagic

Platforms: Web app, iOS coming soon, Android available to Pro users
Price: Basic Free, Pro $49 per year
Great for: Route planning with live collaboration

MapMagic is one of the best new hiking apps
MapMagic MapMagic is one of the best new hiking apps

MapMagic is new to the market but already does wondrous things for route planning. It comes with over 50 layers, meaning you can fine-tune your map to exact preferences.

Those new to route planning can use the ‘Strava Global Heatmap layer’ to discover popular trails while those routing their own adventures can use the ‘Google and Bing Satellite layers’ for granular detail, the ‘Camping Ground layer’ for perfect spots to pitch up, the ‘Shelter layer’ for when it rains, the ‘Water Sources layer’ to refill en route – and many, many more. 

MapMagic comes with over 200 personalised POI options, so you can mark and colour-code practically anything you see on the trail. Our favourite feature, however, is the live collaboration. Similar to what Google Docs does for documents, MapMagic lets you map routes with your friends in real-time. You can, for example, divide a multi-day route into segments and each work on a different segment at the same time. When used in full flow, it can indeed feel like magic.

2. AllTrails

Platforms: iOS, Android
Price: Basic Free, Pro from $35.99 per year
Great for: Connecting with a community of hikers

best hiking apps: alltrails screenshot
AllTrails AllTrails has a global community of hikers

Covering over 400,000 trails and with 3.5 million downloads, AllTrails is one of the most popular hike-planning apps available.

The free version allows you to create your own trails with GPS tracking, photos and text, and save or share them with others. The paid membership allows you to save routes offline and design and print custom maps.

AllTrails has a global community of users and offers detailed reviews and inspiration from tried-and-tested trails. It allows you to easily share your adventures and grow your own community of fellow hikers.

3. Gaia GPS

Platforms: iOS, Android
Price: Basic Free, Member $19.99, Premium $59.90
Great for: Navigation

gaia often appears on lists of best hiking apps
Gaia Gaia has a rich catalogue of maps

Gaia GPS is an outdoor navigation app providing access to a rich catalogue of maps including topographical, satellite, road and the NatGeo Trails Illustrated map series.

As well as tracking hikes while measuring pace, distance and elevation as standard, it is also possible to download a range of offline maps for off-grid access. The app and accompanying web-based version allow for printing too.

The interface is intuitive and users can import and synchronise data points and trails from other digital sources. The app is free, but the best of its features are accessed via the paid version.

4. MapMyWalk

Platforms: iOS, Android
Price: Basic Free, Pro $5.99 monthly or $29.99 annually
Great for: Fitness

one of the best urban hiking apps
MapMyWalk MapMyWalk is great for fitness

This is a great community-based walking and fitness app that allows you to record your activity and log your food intake to track calories and nutritional content. You can also sync the app to a wearable device and connect with friends and other walkers to stay motivated.

The app’s premium level unlocks advanced fitness features such as heart rate analysis and personal training plans ($5.99 a month or $29.99 a year). It is best for urban walks rather than backcountry hiking but is a worthy addition to your bank of apps.

5. FarOut

Platforms: iOS, Android
Price: Basic Free, Pro $15 monthly or $96 annually (individual downloads available)
Great for: Thru-hiking

one of the best hiking apps for thru-hikers
Guthook Guides FarOut is one of the best hiking apps for thru-hikers

FarOut is one of the best hiking apps for thru-hikers. With detailed maps covering thousands of miles of trail routes and over 10,000 waypoint details, it is the app of choice for hikers on the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail and Continental Divide Trail.

Waypoints include water sources, shelters, campsites, road crossings, trailheads, junctions, viewpoints, peaks, parking and many others while town guides include accommodation, restaurants, resupply, laundry, post offices, shops, historical sites and more.

Hikers can create custom routes with the app’s route builder tool and stay up to date with photos and comments shared by other hikers.

6. PeakVisor

Platforms: iOS, Android
Price: Basic Free, Pro $4.99 monthly or $29.99 annually
Great for: Identifying mountains

peakvisor is a seemingly magical hiking app
PeakVisor PeakVisor is one of the best mountaineering apps

PeakVisor is the best app for mountain walking as it instantly recognises the name of any mountain peak that comes into view using a combination of your phone’s camera, location tracking and a high-precision 3D mountain panorama. 

It provides a detailed profile for each peak including altitude, topographic prominence, mountain range and the national parks or reserves it may belong to, as well as photos and relevant entries on Wikipedia. 

PeakVisor includes detailed 3D maps, allowing you to preview trails, summits, passes, viewpoints and parking before setting foot on the trail.

7. Spyglass

Platforms: iOSAndroid
$5.99 per item
Great for: Stargazing

one of the best designed hiking apps
Spyglass Spyglass has a seamless interface

One of the coolest outdoor apps available, Spyglass is also by far the most visually impressive. A complete GPS toolkit is available with the usual tracking features but combined with a stunning augmented reality view.

The app also incorporates a heads-up display, a high-quality compass with map overlays, a gyrocompass, a speedometer, an altimeter, an astronomical object finder, a sextant, an inclinometer, an angular calculator and more.

8. OS Maps

Platforms: iOS, Android
Price: Basic Free, Pro $6.99 monthly or $34.99 annually
Great for: Hiking in the UK

os maps is one of the best hiking apps for britain
OS Maps OS Maps is a classic

If you live in the UK then you will probably know that Ordnance Survey is the home of British mapping and has been for centuries. Whether you’re hiking or cycling, Ordnance Survey produces the UK’s most detailed leisure maps.

Their accompanying apps are simple to use, feature-rich and an excellent addition to paper maps.

The route-plotting feature is a bit clunky and needs some improvement, but for navigation purposes (i.e locating your position on the UK’s most detailed maps) the app is excellent.

Its augmented reality feature allows users to pan the landscape to see what’s nearby, including hills and mountains, forest and woodland, transport, settlements, coast and water.

9. Geocaching

Platforms: iOS, Android
Price: Basic Free, Pro $5.99 monthly or $29.99 annually
Great for: Geocaching

screenshots of geocaching app
Geocaching The app of choice for geocachers

This is the app of choice for geocachers across the world. Whether you’re off to find your first geocache or your thousandth, this app will aid you through the adventure.

Access details of geocaches near you, complete with a description of attributes and all recent activity. Navigate to the cache using a map, compass or driving directions and learn about trackables: geocaching game pieces that travel from cache to cache.

Pro users can filter geocaches by size, type, difficulty, terrain, and found/owned, and sort by name, distance or favourite points.

10. iNaturalist

Platforms: iOS, Android
Price: Free
Great for: Nature walks

iNaturalist hikign app screenshots
iNaturalist iNaturalist focuses on biodiversity

Developed by the National Geographic Society and California Academy of Sciences, iNaturalist encourages hikers to contribute to biodiversity science. 

Hikers are invited to record observations and encounters such as an unusual butterfly or unknown plant species through the app. Users’ findings are then shared with scientific data repositories like the Global Biodiversity Information Facility to help scientists find and use the data.

The end result is that hikers become ‘citizen scientists’ and help really smart people with their important work of protecting animals and conserving nature.

11. Knots 3D

Platforms: iOS, Android
Price: $5.99
Great for: Learning knots

screenshots of knots 3d – learn how to tie over 135 knots
Knots 3D Knots always come in handy for hikers

Featuring over 135 knots, Knots 3D is the go-to reference for climbers, arborists, fishermen and firefighters all across the globe.

Users can watch a knot draw itself or use a finger to tie and untie the knot to see where the virtual rope goes in and out and around.

The 3D knots are arranged by category (climbing, boating, fishing etc) and type (bend, loop, stopper), and are listed with detailed reference information including tying pointers, strength and reliability, structural information and Ashley reference numbers (ABoK).

12. Weather Live: best weather app

Platforms: iOS, Android
Price: Basic Free, Pro from $1.99 to $9.99 monthly depending on package
Great for: Weather planning

screenshots of weather live
Weather Live The best weather app for hiking

Weather Live is probably the best weather app available across both platforms and definitely the best looking. Some of the best features are the live weather scenes that reflect real-world conditions and the fully customisable layout.

There is the standard meteorological data including wind direction and speed, humidity, precipitation, pressure and visibility as well as the very impressive satellite worldwide cloud and rain maps enhanced with animated weather radar (US only) allowing users to quickly see what weather is coming their way.

13. Cairn

Platforms: iOS, Android
Price: Basic Free, Pro $4.99 monthly or $26.99 yearly
Great for: Safety

cairn is one of the best hiking apps for safety
Cairn Cairn is one of the best hiking apps for safety

Cairn has been called ‘the ultimate hiking safety app’ and is an essential part of our safety kit, especially when hiking solo.

Cairn crowdsources cell coverage spots and shows you where others have found coverage on the trail, broken down by carrier. This is useful if you need to update your loved ones or indeed make an emergency call.

You can configure the app to send updates to named contacts at the start and end of each trip as well as an ‘overdue’ notification if you don’t check-in. Cairn also allows you to download topo maps offline and navigate the trail with stats, making the premium version one of the best hiking apps for hiking solo.

14. First Aid by British Red Cross

Platforms: iOS, Android
Price: Free
Great for: Medical emergencies

screenshots of the British Red Cross First Aid app
British Red Cross First Aid by British Red Cross

The British Red Cross First Aid app provides pre-loaded content offering instant access to safety information and expert advice for everyday emergencies.

There are videos, diagrams, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice to help users deal with and prepare for a range of emergencies.

15. Recreation.gov 

Platforms: iOS, Android
Price: Free
Great for: US national parks

Recreation.gov app screenshots
Recreation.gov Recreation.gov focuses on US outdoor recreational areas

Recreation.gov is the perfect companion to the official NPS app, although it isn’t just limited to national parks as it covers all outdoor recreational areas across the US.

The app helps users find and reserve campsites, buy passes, review location details for upcoming trips, access information about reservations and even enter lotteries for in-demand experiences. 

It also has an incredibly useful ‘scan & pay’ feature for participating campgrounds to streamline the check-in process so users can arrive out of hours, bypass waiting in line or avoid carrying cash.

The app has over 100,000 individual locations and is continuously adding new campsites, tours, passes and other activities at federal recreation sites across the US.

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Lead image: RSplaneta/Shutterstock


Platforms: iOS, Android
Price: Free

Komoot claims to be Europe’s number one outdoor app and comes with all the usual route planning, navigation and offline features one would expect. But it is the app’s user-friendly and innovative interface that makes it stand out from the crowd.

Komoot being used on devices
Kamoot Komoot is reportedly Europe’s number one outdoor app

The app’s popular location-based ‘tour recommendation’ feature is outstanding, allowing users to locate hiking and cycling routes and then sort them by a variety of features such as public transport access, duration and difficulty. 

It’s then possible to customise the route by adapting start and endpoints or fully edit the course using the intuitive route planner feature.


Platforms: iOS, Android
Price: Free

Having somewhat flown under the radar in US and UK, Wikiloc is the most popular hiking app in Southern Europe (Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece). The app has a community of 10 million outdoor adventurers who have collectively mapped over 34 million trails and contributed more than 60 million trail pictures across 190 countries.

screenshots of the Wikiloc hiking app
Wikiloc Wikiloc is the most popular hiking app in Southern Europe

Launched in 2006, Wikiloc has been a pioneer in the hiking and outdoor recreation apps category. It was the first Apple Watch app to feature interactive maps on a smartwatch. As such, Apple gave it a special mention during their 2019 Apple Watch keynote.

It was also the first hiking app to implement Live Tracking, a feature allowing hikers to share their real-time location with their family and friends for peace of mind. It was also the first hiking app to join the 1% for the planet initiative – contributing 1% of revenue to environmental projects.

Features include outdoor navigation for hiking, cycling and other outdoor activities; free offline maps for use during outdoor adventures; live tracking; and “search by passing area” for finding trails in a selected area of the map.


Platforms: iOS, Android
Price: $4.99

Much like PeakVisor, PeakFinder allows you to learn the names of any mountain in view. Just hold your camera up to the world and learn about the landscape.

peakfinder is a nifty hiking app
PeakFinder PeakFinder is a mountain-tracking app

The app works offline and worldwide and offers real-time rendering of the surrounding landscape to a range of 300km.


Platforms: iOS, Android
Price: Free (pro version for $9.99 one-off payment and unlimited for $1.89 per month)

Hiiker is dedicated to long-distance hiking trails around the world. As well as featuring thousands of inspiring backpacking and hiking mapped routes, the app also includes a review system, user photos and the option to save the maps and data offline. 

Hiiker app screenshots
Hiiker Hiiker focuses on long-distance hiking

The app also helps with locating campgrounds and accommodation along the trail, features a stage-by-stage breakdown of the trail so you know exactly what’s coming up day by day, suggests alternative routes away from the busier sections and even provides long-term climate trends to help with planning an expedition.

REI National Parks

Platforms: iOS, Android
Price: Free

REI Co-op Guide to National Parks is a comprehensive guide to hiking and sightseeing in US national parks. It comes with complete trail data including hike difficulty ratings and elevation profiles along with informed insights on seasons, camping and lodging, guided tours, food and drink and more.

screenshots of  rei's hiking app
REI The REI app is specifically for US National Parks

Users can search for hikes using the map view or a park’s ‘best of’ list curated using community star ratings. Despite its price (free!), it remains one of the best hiking apps for exploring the finest national parks including Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Zion, Grand Teton and many more.


Platforms: iOS, Android
Price: Free (Pro from €2.50 and Pro+ €5.00)

ViewRanger was a widely popular hiking app on both sides of the Atlantic, which is presumably why it was acquired by Outdooractive

Outdooractive screenshots
Outdooractive Outdooractive is Europe’s largest outdoor platform

Sadly, considering Outdooractive is Europe’s largest outdoor platform, it would appear that the app has switched focus to European hiking trails. I used the app to find trails during my hiking trip in Berchtesgaden National Park and found it to be reliable.

The app focuses on helping hikers plan, navigate, record and share their outdoor adventures. On the Pro and Pro+ subscriptions, users can download high-resolution Ordnance Survey maps for the UK and a range of high-quality topographic maps for all the major European map producers and alpine clubs.


Platforms: iOS, Android
Price: Free

I had never used Maps.me before, but it won me over on my K2 base camp trek in Pakistan. I had downloaded the route using my standard collection of hiking apps and was feeling pretty confident before we set off. Once on the remote trail, however, I couldn’t get accurate information on our position or altitude on any of my apps. 

Maps.me screenshots
Maps.me Maps.me is a travel app

Instead, it was a fellow hiker using Maps.me – a travel as opposed to a hiking app – that was able to consistently report on our progress and altitude. As such, once back online, I promptly downloaded Maps.me and have continued to use it as my ‘backup’ hiking app for every trek I’ve been on since.

The maps are rudimentary for hiking and you have to upload your own GPX routes, but it never fails to locate or provide the essentials such as the nearest footpaths, points of interest and altitude.

NPS official: best app for US national parks

Platforms: iOS, Android
Price: Free

The National Park Service (NPS) recently launched its own official NPS app and, unsurprisingly, it blew the competition out of the water. For starters, and unlike others, the app covers all of the 420-plus sites in the National Park System.

Screenshots from the official NPS app
NPS The NPS app is the best for national parks

The official NPS app provides authoritative information from its park rangers and combines it with a great suite of features including interactive maps, park amenities, accessibility, things to do, fees and visitor centre hours

The app also boasts unique features that other apps simply don’t have access to such as self-guided tours, the latest news, alerts and events released straight from the NPS and information about how dog-friendly an NPS site is.

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