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A question about onX Maps and using a GPS app on your phone.

Just downloaded OnxMaps and going to be using it primarily for backpacking. I have heard that you can use GPS in Airplane Mode while in the backcountry. Is there a way to map the specific trail route I am going on and then utilizing the GPS feature within Onx to navigate the backcountry?


6 Replies


Thanks for bringing this question to the community!

While I have no experience with onX maps, I am a basic level user of Gaia, which is used by @Philreedshikes. Also, @Gary2  recommends the Guthook app. I'm tagging them here to see if they have some insight into what it takes to lay a route down on a map and use it when the phone is in airplane mode. @Wanderer and @CajunHiker may have some experience to share as well.

You are able to use the GPS on your phone when it's in 'airplane mode' and/or unable to receive a signal from a cell tower. You should be able, when still connected to wifi, lay a route on a map that you can then use in the field while not on wifi/cell network. You can read more about that on the onX app here. Additionally, here is a piece about creating routes on your basemap on the onX app.

Hopefully this helps, thanks!


At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Thanks for your response. I guess I am wondering if you know of an app that already has the designated trail routes linked into a GPS system. So, I am looking at the Gallatin Crest Trail in Montana, and want to implement that map into a GPS, that I could use on the trail.


You're welcome!

My understanding is that there is not one app that does those things, but I could be wrong. I'll defer to @Philreedshikes on this, but I think he uses to create a map with a route, then uploads that to Gaia and can track his progress on his phone using GPS.

The Gallatin Crest Trail looks amazing! I can definitely see how you could lose the trail if there is any snow, some of the photos remind me of the hills in the interior of Alaska where it is low grass, tundra, and rocks as far as the eye can see. I hope you have a great trip!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Does anyone know anything about the All Trails app? Can you connect a GPS to this app?


Hi @Nathan1 

So over the past year, I was a pretty heavy All Trails user. I liked its simplicity, the ability to track my position in airplane mode, and the ability to find trails that are nearby or ones where I might be traveling to.

However, because All Trails gets much of its information (routes, etc.) from its user base, I've been finding a fair amount of inaccuracies in the app. It's never become a life and death situation because, until now, I've primarily done day hikes that are relatively close to population centers. But now that I am getting into backpacking and being on trail for several days, I just find I can't trust All Trails for that.

I've just started using Gaia GPS instead (and still learning how to use it effectively) but the extra steps of planning out the route and then uploading it to Gaia gives me a lot more confidence than using All Trails would have.

Although it's just one person's opinion, I'd stick with All Trails for finding those lovely day hikes and switch to a more robust system for backpacking.

Hope this helps

“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” (John Muir)

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Thank you @Dad_Aint_Hip. So, you are saying Gaia GPS can integrate already established trail routes and work in the backcountry on a phone in airplane mode? Or is it only compatible with Garmin GPS units?