Thursday, June 7, 2018

My New Favorite App: AllTrails

Whether you've got an itch to take a walk in the woods close to home or you'd like to plan an outdoor excursion in another town, the AllTrails app will change your trail-discovery game. It's awesome. And free (unless you want to upgrade to a pro subscription with access to more bells and whistles).
When we headed out of town a few weekends ago, we knew we wanted to stop somewhere along the way for a short hike to break up the drive. I pulled up the app, entered a few towns in the search bar and was rewarded with hundreds of options. When it looked like rain would thwart our plans to stop where we had hoped, I checked the radar en route and picked another location just outside the passing storm. Again, many options right at my fingertips.

The AllTrails app offers an extensive catalogue of trails all over the United States. But there's more!

Here are the features that make it one of my most-used apps:

Picking a hike: Search for trails based on your location or a specific city, park or specific trail name. Each trail comes with a description, including trail distance, trail features and a trail map. The app also includes the GPS coordinates of the trailhead and a button that opens Google Maps to give you directions to the exact place you'll start your hike -- helpful when you're unfamiliar with an area or want to know how much drive-time to plan around.

On the trail: One of the greatest parts of this app for me is the map feature when you're on the trail. When you click on the map in the app, you'll see the trail and a little GPS dot telling you in real time exactly where you are on it. Super handy for judging how far you've gone or have to go -- and for getting back on track when you wander off a spur trail.

Stats: The AllTrails app offers a record function if you want to keep track of your hiking stats, including time, distance, miles-per-hour, and elevation -- and see your progress in real time. You can also add "waypoints" and photos if you want to record particular moments along the way.

Extras: There are different map overlays you can apply, depending on what you need. A satellite feed, road map, trail map, contours. You can also see "waypoints," or points of interest, and photos that others have marked along the trail.

Record-keeping: If you're really mean business, using this app every time you hit the trails will allow you to build a profile that documents your lifetime stats, including miles hiked, elevation gain, moving time, and personal bests.

And if you really, REALLY mean business, you can upgrade to the pro account for a fee. This will let you download maps for use offline, design and save custom trail maps, keep track of your favorite trails and access more map overlays and layers.

The AllTrails app was a game-changer for me. I encourage you to check it out.

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