Take the Trail Less Traveled
Celebrate America’s national parks.
Americans have always loved the frontier.
The National Park Service’s centennial celebration in 2016 drew record-breaking crowds to the more than 400 parks, memorials, and historical sites across the nation. Nearly 331 million visitors from around the world (more than the population of the United States) returned again in 2017.
If you’re heading into the wilderness this year, these apps will help you strategize a pilgrimage to top destinations such as Old Faithful and Half Dome. And if you can’t handle throngs of tourists, they’ll point you toward natural splendor on a less-treaded path.
Plan your excursion
‣ Hikers and campers already trust REI as a source for gear, vacations, and classes. The retailer’s REI Co-op National Parks app is an equally reliable guide to plotting your adventure. It presents more than 50 expert guides to the country’s most breathtaking spaces, with more surveyed, scouted, and added to the app all the time. Get full trail maps (available offline), annual precipitation and temperature data, and thoroughly vetted family-friendly stops.
To find less crowded spots, sort by Most Popular and scroll to the bottom. You may be surprised by what you find nearby. For instance, if you’re already heading to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (15 million visitors per year) for unobstructed views of the sunset-hued bridge, consider diverting north to explore Point Reyes National Seashore’s sheer cliffs and panoramic beaches (2.5 million visitors per year) or Muir Woods National Monument’s colossal redwood trees (1 million visitors).
National Park Trail Guide
National parks guide and maps
Make it monumental
‣ In addition to information on parks, Chimani—National Park Guides helps you discover national monuments (like Natural Bridges in Utah), memorials (like the Martin Luther King Jr. statue in Washington, D.C.), battlefields (like Gettysburg), and many more historic sites. Use the trip-planning section to narrow your options: Enter dates, a region, your interests (camping, horseback riding), and the type of traveler you are (solo adventurer, expert) and the app will serve up a list of destinations to fit your needs.
Chimani: National Park Guides
Guides to 419 national parks
Pick a particular path
‣ AllTrails has evaluated and handpicked more than 75,000 trails around the world to include in the app. Search for a city, park, or trail name to see available routes, then use the app’s powerful filters to find the one that suits the length and difficulty you require. Traveling with dogs or children? Need wheelchair-accessible routes? You’ll find filters for those too. Maps can be downloaded and viewed offline, with your iPhone’s GPS pinpointing your location as you traverse the terrain.
AllTrails: Hike, Bike & Run
GPS Hiking & Biking Trail Maps
Elevate your experience
‣ If you’re planning an adventure overlooking beautiful vistas, you’ll want to bring along a couple of additional apps.
PeakVisor uses your iPhone’s camera and augmented reality (AR) to display the names and elevation of nearby peaks. Download the maps before you go, and when you’re out in the wilderness, point your camera at the nearest mountain. The information pops up like magic.
Meanwhile, iNaturalist encourages you to stop and marvel at the plants, insects, and wildlife around you. Snap a photo and let the app’s image-detection technology identify the species. You can then upload it for other budding naturalists to admire.