Smart Phone Apps for the Avid Hiker: Venture forth into the wild with confidence

Now that it’s officially spring in the Pacific Northwest, it’s time to dust off those hiking boots and head out on the trails with your friends and family. We hike most weekends, frequenting the trials nearby and sometimes venturing a bit further to explore a new (to us) mountain or lake. Hence I was thrilled when Pearlie Davis, of Going Cellular, emailed me offering to write a guest post about smart phone apps for hikers! Thanks so much, Pearlie!

Nowadays we don’t leave home without our smart phones. It’s true; I go for a run with my T-Mobile Samsung Android, I walk to the corner store with it, and I even go for a hike with it. Our once unplugged activities are now made better thanks to smart phone technology—especially when it comes to hiking.

When you go for a hike nowadays you can plan ahead with a hiking checklist, view panoramic hiking vistas, check the weather forecast, and even navigate various terrains—such as mountains, deep woods, or foreign hiking trails. Here are my top picks for smart phone apps for the avid hiker…

1. (Free – for Android)

Have you ever glimpsed an intriguing panorama off in the distance and wondered I wonder if I can make it there? And when I do, I wonder if I can climb it? The app will let you know before you even get there. This app provides an instant augmented reality view of any surrounding peak, and using a compass and GPS receiver tool (embedded in your phone) it tells you the name of the peak, how high it is, and the distance you are from it.

2. myTracks ($15.99 – for iPhone)

The myTracks is the Swiss-Army Knife of GPS tracks for hikers. With this app users can record GPS tracks and view live statistics—including time, speed, distance, and elevation. Once recorded, you can store them in your personal library or share your tracks with other users when you upload them to Google Spreadsheets or Google MyMaps.

3. Hiking Checklist ($0.99 – for iPhone)

If you’re planning an upcoming hiking trip, The Hiking Checklist can help you do it in half the time with half the stress. Going on a hike always has me stressing about remembering everything I need to pack. Do I have enough food, water, clothes? However, this app comes pre-loaded with more than 250 hike-planning-related items in list format. The list is fully customizable so you can add, edit, delete, and rearrange items on the list to suit your hiking preferences. To add an item to your own hiking list, simply check the items you’d like to add. To remove an item, simply uncheck it and it will disappear from your list. You can reuse your list by saving it, and consulting it again on your next hiking or camping trip. Or you can create a new list or multiple lists for your trips. You can also share your list with fellow hikers just by emailing it to them.

4. AlpineQuest GPS Hiking (Free – for Android)

The AlpineQuest app is an ideal maps program for hikers, but what’s really unique about this app is that it’s completely accessible even if you’re out of network reach—on a mountain, in the woods, or in another country. The AlpineQuest app even lets you store maps on your SD card so you can access them later via your smart phone, or if you’re without network access, later from the AlpineQuest website.

5. Hi-HikerPro (Free – for Android)

The Hi-Hiker Pro app features every tool you’ll need for a successful hike—including a sessions pedometer, a stopwatch, a compass, a flashlight, GPS maps and tracking, an altimeter, access to weather forecasts, and an emergency call. It’s every hiker’s must-have tool kit!

About the Author:

Pearlie Davis is a staff writer for GoingCellular, a popular site that provides cell phone news, commentary, and reviews on popular devices like T-mobile Samsung Android phones.

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  1. I think carrying your phone, especially a smartphone, on a hike is a must. I think there are safety factors (you can hopefully call for help) plus you have access to the apps like you suggest, GPS, etc. Thanks for sharing those!
    Heather (Where’s the Beach) recently posted…Running, Lifting, Grilling & Heath UpdateMy Profile

    • Heather, I totally agree! I never go anywhere without my phone; who knows what might happen? (Do I sound totally paranoid????)

  2. Even though I don’t usually get reception on my hikes, I still feel all the more safe with it. These are great apps! Thanks – off to check them out! And spread the word to my hiker friends.
    christine @ oatmeal bowl recently posted…Adventurous Friday!My Profile

    • Thanks Christine!
      We often lose cell phone reception when we hike too, but just having the phone makes me feel safer!

  3. After all the news stories I have seen, best to always have that phone with you. Maybe no reception but maybe yes & saves your life! Thx for sharing!!!
    Jody – Fit at 54 recently posted…Never Before Seen Ab Exercises & More Stuff…Friday the 13th!My Profile

  4. I bring my phone every where I go…I definitely live a plugged in lifestyle. Good and bad! Right now my hiking ventures land me in Central Park, but these are good to know for the future!
    Talia @ Bite Size Wellness recently posted…Perfecting Your PlankMy Profile

    • Central Park is a wonderful place to hike! I’ve only visited New York once, but was amazed by the size of that peaceful green space in the centre of such a bustling city!

  5. Thanks for sharing the apps. Makes me realize my idea of hiking is NOTHING compared to what others have access to in their neck of the woods.
    Julie (@ROJRunning) recently posted…Friday Food : Pizza Soup & Upgraded 5-Ingredient ChickenMy Profile

    • Julie, you should come hiking with me! We have fabulous mountain trails with incredible views out over the city and the Pacific Ocean!