Hiking GPS maps are becoming increasingly popular within hiking circles, but how do hiking GPS apps work?
With the popularity of hiking GPS apps, it's important to understand how they work. Some apps use your location to provide directions, while others allow you to plan a hike in advance and then follow your progress on the map. Understanding the features of each app can help you choose the best one for your needs.
Most hiking GPS apps work by using the GPS signal from your phone to identify your current location. The app then compares your location to a map of the area and shows you where you are on the trail. You can even drop a pin so you’re able to track where you’ve come from.
A GPS can be a helpful navigational tool, allowing hikers to track their progress and find their way back to the trailhead if they get lost. Additionally, GPS apps include information about nearby hiking trails, including distance, elevation gain, and difficulty level. This helps hikers who are looking for a new challenge or trying to find a trail that is within their abilities. Furthermore, many hiking GPS apps allow users to track their progress, and share their routes with friends, making it easy to compare hiking experiences and plan future trips.
As experienced hikers, we’ve used different GPS apps in an attempt to find the right ones for us. As such, we will explain to you the functions of hiking GPS applications, along with examples.
How Do Hiking GPS Apps Work?
When you go for a hike, you probably want to enjoy the scenery and the fresh air and not worry about getting lost. Fortunately, there are now a variety of GPS apps that can help you keep track of your location and find your way back to the trailhead. Most hiking GPS apps work by using the GPS signal from your phone to identify your current location.
The app then compares your location to a map of the area and shows you where you are on the trail.
You can also use the app to drop a pin at your current location so that you can easily find your way back if you get separated from your group. In addition, most hiking GPS apps include a compass feature that you can use to orient yourself if you get turned around.
By taking advantage of these features, you can hike with confidence, knowing that you always have a way to get back to your camp.
Different Features of Hiking GPS Apps
There are a variety of GPS apps on the market, each with its own set of features. When choosing a GPS app for hiking, look for one that has the following features:
A good hiking GPS app will allow you to download maps for offline use. This is handy if you lose your cell signal while you're out on the trail.
A real-time tracking feature lets you see your current location on a map in real-time. This can be helpful if you need to backtrack or if someone is coming to meet you on the trail.
A waypoint is a specific location that you save in the app. This can be useful for marking your car or campsite or saving coordinates for a particularly scenic spot.
A route is a saved map of a hike or walking trip that you can follow later. This can be helpful if you want to retrace your steps or share your hike with others.
An elevation profile shows the elevation of the terrain along your route. This can help you plan your hike and avoid steep sections.
Benefits of Using a Hiking GPS App
Hiking is a great way to explore the outdoors and get some exercise, but it can also be dangerous if you're not prepared. That's where a hiking GPS app can come in handy. Here are eight benefits of using one of these apps:
- You can track your location in case you get lost.
- The app can provide you with turn-by-turn directions, so you never have to worry about getting off track.
- Many apps come with built-in maps, so you can see exactly where you are and plan your route accordingly.
- Some apps allow you to share your location with friends or family, so they can keep track of your progress and ensure your safety.
- Hiking GPS apps often include information about nearby trails, including length, difficulty, and scenic views.
- If you're looking for a challenge, some apps allow you to set up custom routes or courses.
- Many apps include features like elevation tracking and compass navigation, so you can make sure you're always heading in the right direction.
- Some apps even allow you to record your hikes, so you can share your experiences with others
How to Choose the Right GPS App
With so many hiking GPS apps on the market, it can be hard to know which one is right for you. Here are a few things to consider when making your decision:
- Do you need a hiking GPS app that is available offline? If you'll be hiking in areas with limited or no cell service, this is an important feature to look for.
- How important is the ease of use? Some hiking GPS apps are more user-friendly than others. If you're not comfortable using technology, you may want to choose an app that is simpler to use.
- What kind of features do you need? Some apps offer basic mapping and tracking capabilities, while others include more advanced features such as route planning and elevation profiles. Decide what features are most important to you and choose an app that meets your needs.
- How much are you willing to spend? Hiking GPS apps range in price from free to several dollars. Consider your budget and choose an app that fits your needs without breaking the bank.
Take some time to research your options and find the hiking GPS app that's right for you. With so many great apps available, there's sure to be one that's perfect for your next hike.
Popular Hiking GPS Apps
There are several popular hiking GPS apps available for both iPhone and Android devices. These apps can be beneficial for planning and tracking hikes, as well as for finding your way back if you get lost. Some of the most popular hiking GPS apps include AllTrails, Gaia GPS, and MapMyHike.
These apps offer a variety of features, including the ability to track your location, create and follow hiking trails, and view elevation data. In addition, all three apps offer a premium subscription that unlocks even more features, such as offline maps and advanced navigation tools. Whether you're an experienced hiker or just getting started, one of these hiking GPS apps is sure to meet your needs.
If you're an avid hiker, then you know the importance of having a good hiking GPS app. AllTrails is one of the best hiking GPS apps out there, and for good reason. It offers several essential features for any serious hiker, such as the ability to track your location, find nearby trails, and get detailed information about each trail.
The app is constantly updated with new features and trails, so you'll never get bored. And if you're ever in an area with poor cell service, don't worry - AllTrails can work offline, so you can always find your way back to the trailhead. So if you're looking for a hiking GPS app that has it all, be sure to check out AllTrails.
AllTrails is a hiking GPS app that features over 75,000 hiking trails worldwide. The app includes an interactive map that allows users to search for trails by location, difficulty, length, and more. Users can also view photos and reviews submitted by other hikers and create their hiking itineraries.
In addition, the app provides turn-by-turn navigation, so users can easily find their way even if they're off the beaten path. Whether you're looking for an easy day hike or a multi-day trek, AllTrails is a great resource for planning your next adventure.
Gaia GPS is a hiking GPS app that offers many benefits for hikers and campers. One of the main benefits is that it helps you stay on track while hiking. It does this by tracking your location and showing you where you are on a map. This is especially helpful if you are hiking in an unfamiliar area or if you get lost. Another benefit of Gaia GPS is that it can help you get back to your campsite.
It does this by tracking your location and then showing you the shortest route back to your campsite. This is especially helpful if you are hiking in an unfamiliar area or if you lose your way. Finally, Gaia GPS can help you plan your hikes. It does this by allowing you to view maps of hiking trails and campgrounds. This is especially helpful if you are planning a long hike or if you want to find a new hiking trail to explore.
There are a lot of hiking GPS apps out there, but Gaia GPS is my personal favorite. I've been using it for years, and it's never let me down. One of the things I love about Gaia GPS is that it's extremely user-friendly. Even if you're not familiar with GPS technology, you'll be able to figure out how to use the app within a few minutes. Another great thing about Gaia GPS is that it's always up-to-date.
The developers are constantly adding new features and improving the app, so you can be confident that you're always getting the best possible experience. If you're looking for a hiking GPS app that's reliable and easy to use, I would recommend checking out Gaia GPS.
MapMyHike is a hiking GPS app that allows users to track their hiking routes, distance, and elevation. The app also provides hikers with access to hiking trail maps, weather conditions, and hiking tips. In addition, MapMyHike offers a premium membership that provides access to additional features such as real-time tracking, emergency assistance, and personalized coaching. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or just getting started, MapMyHike is an essential tool for planning and tracking your hiking adventures.
The MapMyHike app is a hiking GPS app that lets you track your hikes and see hiking trails near you. The app also lets you share your hiking routes with other hikers. The MapMyHike app benefits include being able to see your hiking stats, such as how far you've hiked and how many calories you've burned.
The app also has a social media component, so you can connect with other hikers and share photos and stories from your hikes. And if you're looking for new hiking trails to explore, the MapMyHike app can help you find hiking trails near you. So, whether you're an experienced hiker or just getting started, the MapMyHike app can help you enjoy the outdoors and get the most out of your hiking experience.
Avenza Maps is a top-rated hiking app that offers a variety of benefits for hikers of all levels. Perhaps most importantly, Avenza Maps provides accurate GPS tracking, even when you're offline. This is crucial for safety in case you lose signal while hiking in remote areas.
The app also lets you easily drop pins and mark trails, so you can easily find your way back to your starting point. Plus, Avenza Maps offers a huge selection of offline maps, so you can plan your hikes even when you don't have an internet connection. Whether you're a casual hiker or an experienced explorer, Avenza Maps is the perfect hiking companion.
Avenza Maps features topographic maps from all over the world. With Avenza Maps, you can download maps ahead of time and use them offline, so you don't need to worry about losing your signal in remote areas. The app also allows you to mark waypoints and track your location, so you can easily find your way back to your starting point.
In addition, Avenza Maps includes a built-in compass and GPS coordinates, so you can always orient yourself even if you're in unfamiliar territory. With its comprehensive features and easy-to-use interface, Avenza Maps is the perfect hiking companion for any adventure.
Google Maps is a popular hiking GPS app that offers several benefits for hikers. First, it is free to use, which can save money on hiking equipment. Second, it is widely available, so hikers can usually find a signal even in remote areas. Third, it is accurate and up-to-date, so hikers can trust the directions they receive. Fourth, it offers a number of features that can be helpful on a hike, such as the ability to track your location and share your location with others. Finally, it is easy to use, so hikers can focus on enjoying the hike rather than worrying about getting lost. Overall, Google Maps is an excellent hiking GPS app that can offer real benefits to hikers.
If you're looking for a hiking trail near you, Google Maps is a great resource. Simply search for "hiking trails," and a map will populate with all of the hiking trails in your area. You can click on each hiking trail to get more information, such as the length of the trail, the difficulty level, and user reviews. You can also see photos of the trail to get an idea of what it looks like. If you're feeling adventurous, you can even use Google Maps to plan a hiking trip in a new area! Simply zoom out on the map to see all of the hiking trails in an area, and then click on the ones that look interesting to get more information.
Spyglass is one of the most popular hiking apps, and it offers several features that can be useful for any hiker. One of the most useful features is the ability to download maps for offline use. This can be essential if you're hiking in an area with poor cell service. You can also use the app to track your location, so you can always find your way back if you get lost.
Spyglass also provides detailed information on hiking trails, including elevation changes and estimated hiking times. This can help you choose a trail that's suitable for your fitness level and schedule. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or just getting started, Spyglass can help you make the most of your hiking experience.
Spyglass is unique in its focus on giving hikers the information they need to plan and execute a safe, successful hike. In addition to detailed maps and GPS tracking, Spyglass provides information on elevation, weather conditions, and trail difficulty.
This allows hikers to assess the risks of a hike before setting out and adjust their plans accordingly. The app also includes a built-in compass and camera, making it easy to navigate unfamiliar terrain and take photos along the way. With its comprehensive features and user-friendly interface, Spyglass is the perfect hiking companion for any adventure.
What sets Outdoor Active apart is the GPS feature. With Outdoor Active, you can plan your hike ahead of time and then use the GPS feature to track your progress and make sure you stay on course. Plus, the GPS feature can be used offline, so you don't have to worry about losing service in the middle of your hike. And if you do happen to wander off the beaten path, Outdoor Active will help you find your way back. So whether you're a seasoned hiker or a beginner, this hiking app is sure to help you make the most of your next outdoor adventure.
It also includes a detailed map of hiking trails in your area so you can plan your route. In addition, the app provides information on elevation, weather conditions, and more so you can be fully prepared for your hike.
If you ever find yourself in an emergency, the app even has a built-in SOS feature that will notify emergency services of your location. So whether you're an experienced hiker or just getting started, the Outdoor Active app is worth checking out!
Reasons To Use GPS on Your Phone
If you're an avid hiker, you know that having a good hiking app on your phone can be a lifesaver. But even if you're not a hiker, there are still plenty of reasons to use GPS on your phone. Here are five of them:
- You can always find your way home. Whether you're out for a walk in the park or driving in an unfamiliar city, GPS can help you find your way back to your starting point.
- You can explore new places without getting lost. GPS can help you discover new hiking trails, scenic viewpoints, and much more.
- You can avoid traffic jams and other delays. By checking live traffic conditions, you can plan your route around congestion and save yourself time and frustration.
- You can find the best deals on gas and other services. With GPS, you can easily compare prices at nearby gas stations and find the cheapest option.
- You can stay safe in an emergency. If you ever have an accident or get lost in the wilderness, GPS can help rescuers find you quickly and get you the help you need.
Reasons Not to Use GPS on Your Phone
It's no secret that our phones are capable of a lot. We use them to stay in touch with friends and family, stay up to date on the latest news, and even find our way around when we're in unfamiliar territory. However, there are some activities where it's better to leave the phone at home. Here are five reasons why you shouldn't use GPS on your phone while hiking:
- Hiking apps drain your battery very quickly. If you're planning on being out all day, there's a good chance your phone will be dead long before you're done hiking.
- Hiking apps can be unreliable. If you lose service or there's a problem with the app, you could easily get lost.
- Using your phone's GPS tracker can decrease your battery life, leaving you with less power in case of an emergency.
- If you drop your phone or it gets damaged while you're hiking, you could be left without any way to navigate back to safety.
- Hiking is a great opportunity to disconnect from technology and enjoy nature. So next time you head out for a hike, leave your phone at home and enjoy the peace of being disconnected from the digital world.
Are Hiking GPS Apps Accurate?
Many people hiking for the first time might not be aware of the importance of having a GPS with them. A hiking GPS app can help you find your way if you get lost, and it can also be useful for tracking your hiking progress. But are these apps accurate?
The answer may surprise you. While hiking GPS apps are not always 100% accurate, they are usually close enough to be useful. In most cases, the apps will use a combination of satellite data and crowd-sourced information to create a fairly accurate hiking map. So, if you're planning a hike, be sure to download a hiking GPS app before you head out. It could end up being a lifesaver.
Factors Affecting the Accuracy of Hiking GPS Apps
Even the most seasoned hikers get lost sometimes. That's why many people rely on hiking GPS apps to help them find their way. However, some apps are not always accurate. Here are five reasons why:
- The apps rely on satellite data, which can be inaccurate.
- The apps don't take into account changes in the terrain, such as fallen trees or eroded paths.
- They can't always account for the weather, which can affect GPS signals.
- Hiking GPS apps often have a limited database of trails, so they may not include the one you're hiking on.
- Finally, your phone battery can die, leaving you without a hiking GPS app and without any way to find your way back.
For these reasons, it's always important to carry a map and compass when hiking, even if you're using a hiking GPS app. That way, if the app fails, you'll still be able to find your way back to the trailhead.
Problems with Satellite Data
For anyone who enjoys hiking or spending time outdoors, a reliable GPS is essential. However, satellite data can sometimes be unreliable, resulting in frustration for hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts. Here are five common problems with satellite data:
Incorrect Location Data
This is perhaps the most annoying issue, as it can lead to hikers getting lost. Inaccurate location data can be caused by interference from trees or other obstructions, making it difficult for GPS signals to reach the satellite.
Poor Signal Quality
Another common problem is poor signal quality, which can lead to GPS inaccuracies of up to several hundred feet. This can be caused by factors such as bad weather or a weak satellite signal.
Limited Battery Life
Hikers often rely on their GPS for long periods, which can drain the battery quickly. When hiking in remote areas, it's important to have a backup power source such as a solar charger.
Expensive Data Plans
Many hiking apps require an active data connection to function properly, which can be expensive if you're not on an unlimited data plan. Be sure to check the app's requirements before heading out on your hike.
Ways to Maximize the Accuracy of a Hiking GPS App
GPS apps can be a great asset when hiking, but they're not always 100% accurate. Here are a few tips to help you get the most accurate readings possible:
- Make sure you have a clear view of the sky. GPS signals can be interrupted by trees or other obstacles.
- Check for updates. If you're using an older version of an app, it may not be as accurate as newer versions.
- Compare readings from different apps. Some apps are more accurate than others. By cross-checking readings from different apps, you can get a more accurate picture of your location.
- Use offline maps. If you're hiking in an area with poor cell reception, an offline map can be a lifesaver. Most GPS apps allow you to download maps for offline use.
- Know your limitations. GPS is only as accurate as the technology allows. It's important to understand that GPS apps are not perfect, and they should not be relied on exclusively for navigation in wilderness areas. When in doubt, trust your instincts and intuition!
Hiking apps are convenient if you’re looking to find your way back to the trail if you get lost or want more information about where it is located. GPS capabilities allow users to see their current location on a map, which helps them easily navigate through an area while enjoying all that nature has to offer without getting tired from walking too much.
However, their dependability on satellite data can make things a bit more challenging. Therefore, it is better to have a backup, like a map or a compass.
About THE AUTHOR
I’m a hiker, backpacker, and general outdoor enthusiast. I started hiking out of college while working for the National Forest Service, and have been hiking ever since. I’ve been solo hiking and leading hiking groups for two decades and have completed hundreds of small hikes and some majorones such as the Appalachian Train and the Pacific Crest Trail, and hiked on four continents. I’d love to share some of my insight with you.Read More About Peter Brooks