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Apps for the Wild

January 19, 2023
Nick Humphries

Favorite Apps and Websites for my Outdoor Adventures

Nick Humphries

As an avid outdoorsman, I have been on hunting, backpacking, motorcycling, mountain biking, and other trips throughout my life. Through these trips, I have tried many different apps. Here are my top picks for the ones I find most helpful. 

  • Strava: This is a classic, big-name app used by both athletes and amateurs to track their physical exercise through GPS and share it with their friends. It can track runs, walks, hikes, bicycle rides, water sports like canoeing or surfing, winter sports like ice skating or skiing, or even specialty sports like soccer or rock climbing. It also contains a map that tracks your mileage, average times (such as your average mile, or kilometer, if you’re Canadian), and other useful features. It is a free app but requires a sign-up. There is also a premium subscription that offers more features, but I have not tried it yet. 
  • AllTrails: AllTrails is a fitness and travel app for outdoor recreation activities. It has both an app and a web-based version. Although I haven’t used their fitness features, I have used the travel aspect of the app. It is a great way to find new trails in unknown areas. If I am looking for a new path to either hike or mountain bike, this is the first place I’ll look. AllTrails gives directions to the trailhead, total length, difficulty level, elevation gain, and a short description. It also lets individuals post reviews or trail conditions for the hike. 
  • Apple Watch Apps: If you have an Apple watch, be sure to check out all the features that are installed on watchOS 9 with the Fitness and Compass apps. Apple watches have a built-in compass that includes elevation, incline, latitude, and longitude. It can also drop waypoints in a map to establish important areas such as a split in the trail or a restroom, plus, it can backtrack, meaning you can retrace your steps in case you get lost. The fitness app is also useful because it counts calories burned, heart rate, total miles, total time, and more. 
  • State-Specific Department of Transportation (DOT) websites: Each state has a DOT website, and they are really useful for getting to and from your activities. When I travel through a state, I am sure to check weather, construction, and road closures before I begin my drive. One of the most aggravating things is to be diverted to another route because of a closed road. Some examples of DOT websites include codot.gov, wyoroad.info, and dot.ca.gov. 
  • CoTrex: I am from Colorado and when I dirt bike in my home state, I use an app called CoTrex. It tracks your location via GPS and shows a map with trail names and other geographical features. 
  • 14ers.com: Again, because I am from Colorado, I am an avid hiker. 14ers.com is a locally used app that displays routes, mileage, elevation, and route reviews for all 58 mountains at or above 14,000 feet in elevation. In this regard, the app is more knowledgeable than AllTrails because reviews are more frequent, and the information is more thorough. 

I hope you try these apps and that they might be useful for you and your adventures. Ultimately, these apps have made my trips easier to plan and more enjoyable. Have fun out there! 

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