• Modified on Jun 19, 2024

Digital mapping and navigation apps are used in different practices by outdoor enthusiasts. While some individuals still prefer standard navigation with a map and compass, they keep a hiking app as a backup. However, as technology advances and smartphones become universal, more people turn to digital apps for outdoor adventures. This trend is growing, reflecting the increasing dependence on these innovative tools.

Hiking apps have made trail planning more manageable and faster by automatically calculating total incline, distance, fastest lap, and other vital data. Embracing this technological betterment undeniably enhances the comfort of hiking. Whether you're a regular daredevil scaling mountain peaks, a backpacker navigating remote trails, or a wanderer seeking peaceful forest trails, these apps provide important help at your fingertips.

One of the fundamental benefits of hiking apps is their ability to provide improved navigation. While classic maps and compasses remain important, the best hiking apps offer GPS tracking and precise trail maps that can often be accessed offline. Safety is a top focus when exploring the wilderness, and apps like Cairn allow hikers to share their real-time site and send emergency signals. Additionally, many hiking apps incorporate weather forecasts and alerts, helping hikers to check conditions before and during their hike. This knowledge allows them to pack suitably and make knowledgeable decisions about whether to move with their plans.

Best free hiking apps | Cover Image 2024

Selecting the proper trail significantly impacts the hiking experience. The best hiking apps offer detailed trail reports, photos, user reviews, and problem ratings, which help hikers choose trails that suit their skill levels and fondness. Additionally, these apps create a sense of community among outdoor fanatics. This joint aspect can inspire and motivate hikers to explore new trails and share their experiences.

Hiking apps are more than just digital tools, they are important guides for modern hikers and backpackers. Some apps also endorse environmental knowledge by offering information on Leave No Trace codes and other conservation guidance. These features promote accountable hiking and backpacking practices. Here is a list of the best free hiking apps to enrich your next adventure.

Table of Content

Best Hiking Apps 


Strava, founded in 2009, has become one of the most prevalent fitness-tracking apps available today. Available on Android and iOS, this application provides a medium where users can record their movements, examine their performance, and engage with an international community of hikers and outdoor lovers. Whether, you're into running, hiking, or any other outdoor activity, Strava offers a total suite of segments designed to record your performance, tie you with a community of like-minded people, and help you achieve your fitness goals. 

Strava Hiking App

This app provides user-defined sections of a route where you can compete against yourself and others. Strava also upholds leaderboards for each segment, revealing how your performance piles up against others who have completed the same segment. Here, you can even set individual goals for weekly, monthly, or annual mileage, and track your improvement toward these targets. 

While Strava is commonly known for cycling and running, it also offers practical features for hikers. You can view the elevation details of your hike, helping you prepare for ascents and descents. Also, hikers can snap and share hiking photos, and encourage others. With Strava, you can also discover popular hiking routes in your area, complete with detailed maps and user reviews. 

Strava offers a premium subscription called Starva Summit, which delivers additional elements like the Safety Pack, Analysis Pack, and Training Pack. 

First Aid by Red Cross

This app is designed with a simple, automatic interface that makes it easy for users of all ages and hikers to navigate and find the safety information they need quickly. Launched by the American Red Cross, the First Aid application is designed to offer suitable, easy-to-understand details for handling expected medical emergencies. Available for iOS and Android devices, the app functions as a portative first-aid guide, offering step-by-step teachings, videos, and questions to help users learn and maintain necessary first-aid skills. 

First Aid App by Red Cross

The app offers comprehensive instructions for handling various troubles, such as cuts, heart attacks, burns, and choking. It enriches understanding through images and videos that visually demonstrate techniques and methods. Additionally, interactive quizzes let users test their first aid knowledge, strengthening learning and ensuring they are prepared for real-life situations that might arise during hiking or other outdoor activities. Download the First Aid by Red Cross app today to prepare yourself with the knowledge and enthusiasm to handle emergencies anytime, anywhere.

Apple Fitness App

The Apple Fitness app is well-known as a highly dependable tool for fitness buffs. Nowadays, many hikers incorporate Apple products into their daily lives, and the Apple Watch effectively tracks their performance. This adaptable and powerful app enhances your fitness routine with proper tracking, personalized insights, and motivational segments.

Apple Fitness App | Best hiking app

The Apple Watch Exercise application delivers real-time data and senses during physical activities. Whether you're hiking, cycling, practicing yoga, or swimming, the app tracks a wide field of activities, offering precise metrics to help you understand your routine and progress. Users can create custom workouts tailored to their specific fitness goals and preferences, allowing for personalized exercise routines. During workouts, the app provides real-time data on key metrics such as calories burned, speed, heart rate, time, and distance. For hiking and other outdoor activities, it tracks elevation changes and uses GPS to map routes, offering explicit insights into your performance over contrasting landscapes.

The exercise app integrates seamlessly with the Apple Health app, squeezing all health and wellness data in one place. This integration enables users to track long-term trends and gain a comprehensive view of their overall health. Besides, users can share their hiking or other outdoor activity progress with friends and family, encouraging a sense of community and friendly competition.


Cairn is more than a navigation app, it's a complete safety and planning tool that elevates the outdoor experience. By offering real-time location sharing, clear trail maps, and community-driven insights, Cairn provides the essential resources and peace of mind for unassailable and enjoyable adventures. Whether you're hiking a local route or on a multi-day trek, Cairn keeps you informed and connected, even in remote areas. Named after the traditional stacked stone trail markers, Cairn guides and protects outdoor fanatics on their journeys. Available on both iOS and Android platforms, the application uses trendy technology to deliver real-time safety tracking, trail notification, and community insights. Cairn allows users to share their real-time location with specified contacts, ensuring that friends or family can monitor your progress and know your whereabouts at all times. Besides, users can set up automatic check-ins at predetermined intervals, if you fail to check in, your trouble contacts will be notified, adding an extra coating of safety.

Cairn best hiking tool 2024

You can also choose a paid version of this app for $27 a year to access supplementary features that enhance convenience. In emergencies, Cairn’s alert technique can be a lifesaver. If you are injured or unable to move, the app’s real-time tracking and trouble notifications can help rescuers find you swiftly. While exploring exotic trails, Cairn’s detailed maps and community reviews offer helpful insights. Users can learn about trail conditions, potential dangers, and points of interest from those who have previously navigated the trail. For solo hikers, Cairn’s location sharing and check-in features add an extra layer of shield, allowing loved ones to follow your progress and be notified if you encounter any problems, ensuring your safety on isolated adventures.


PeakVisor functions as an ideal companion for hikers and trekkers, assisting users in pinpointing peaks, planning routes, and navigating trails, thereby enriching their hiking experience. It shines as a vital tool for mountain enthusiasts, combining advanced technology with wide information to elevate outdoor adventures. Its AR peak identification, detailed 3D maps, and extensive database of peaks make it an invaluable resource for hikers, climbers, and explorers alike.

Peakvisor hiking app 2024

PeakVisor has the power to revolutionize your outdoor adventures, providing worthwhile insights and accurate data, regardless of whether you're a proficient mountaineer or a casual hiker. With the use of your smartphone's camera, PeakVisor can immediately recognize mountains and peaks. Simply direct your device toward the landscape, and the app will overlay the names and elevations of observable peaks onto your screen. Similarly, users have the option to download maps for offline usage, providing access to necessary information even without an internet connection. This offline feature proves priceless, especially in remote areas with limited internet access, allowing users to pre-download maps and details for their trips, ensuring they have all the necessary data at their fingertips.


Relive has transformed how outdoor fanatics document and share their adventures by providing a distinctive combination of visual storytelling, social interaction, and performance monitoring. It is perfect for capturing and sharing hiking and trail running experiences. The 3D videos and interactive maps display the allure of nature and the obstacles of the trail, motivating others to discover fresh paths. Relive effortlessly integrates with popular fitness tracking apps, automatically importing GPS data from your activities. This eradicates the requirement for manual uploads, ensuring that your adventures are effortlessly recorded.

Relive, good hiking application for your phone

The visual and interactive nature of Relive acts as a source of encouragement and accountability for users. Seeing your actions visualized in 3D videos and maps can inspire you to set new objectives and push your boundaries. Relive fosters social engagement by authorizing users to share their experiences with friends, family, and online communities. Relive offers premium elements such as HD video quality, advanced editing tools, and comprehensive activity playback. These features improve the visual quality and customization choices of your Relive videos, letting you create professional-grade content. 


iNaturalist app for botanical knowledge

iNaturalist provides a medium for exploration, learning, and contributing to our collective understanding of the Earth's mixed biodiversity, whether you're an experienced naturalist, an interested newcomer, or someone who simply loves spending time in nature, like a hiker. The app employs image recognition technology and the details of its community to assist users in accurately identifying species. Using AI-powered algorithms and input from fellow users, iNaturalist delivers immediate feedback on the organisms captured in users' photos.

Important hiking app features to check 

Choosing a good hiking app can greatly improve your outdoor adventure by providing valuable tools and resources to navigate trails, track progress, and stay safe in the outdoors. When selecting a hiking app, it's important to consider the features that best suit your individual needs and likings. Whether you're a seasoned daredevil or a newbie hiker, choosing an app with features like: 

  • Offline Access
  • Maps and GPS Tracking
  • Compass
  • Recording
  • Grid reference
  • Weather forecasts and alerts
  • Cost
  • Community features

Can greatly enhance your outdoor experience. By carefully considering these fundamental features, you can find the perfect hiking app to accompany you on your next adventure in the awesome outdoors. 

Dear readers, these are the most frequently used hiking apps in daily usage. Therefore, the next time you venture on a hiking adventure, remember to explore one of these apps according to your needs and preferences. Embrace the splendors of the outdoors and happy hiking!

Abhishek Dhital

Abhishek Dhital

Abhishek Dhital relishes observing the customs and cultures of many regions of Nepal as a travel photographer, blogger, and certified trekking guide. He is a native of Dang, a stunning region in western Nepal. He was raised in the Inner Terai and has always loved to climb up to his hometown's highlands. He moved to Kathmandu after completing his schooling, where he received a bachelor's degree in Travel and Tourism Management from Nepal College of Travel and Tourism Management, Lazimpat. He stated, "When I began studying tourism, I became really attracted to its service approach and made the decision to become a professional tour guide and travel writer.

In 2015, he began his photographic journey. He gradually began traveling and shooting genuine grins and experiences. He is now discovering fresh and original techniques to market Nepal and give his clients first-rated service in the mountains.

He declared, "I am really happy to be a member of Footprint Adventure as I can develop my career in a booming tourism industry where I may get the chance to perform well and prove my abilities accepting challenges and pressures completing the organizational goal." He genuinely believes in the power of nature, and he thinks it can change people's outlooks and lead them to discover their life's purpose.