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Hiking Maps - what app do you recommend?


My wife and I are slowly getting back into hiking and are setting a goal to possibly hike the AT by September 2021, which is close to her bday. We are hiking small trails in local state parks. We have talked about getting a paper map/compass and handheld gps to take with us when we do the AT. I have been venturing into digital maps on smartphone, however, I can’t decide what the best app is. I have All Trails and Gaia GPS loaded, but haven't bitten the bullet to pay yet.

Of the two, which has the best usability and understandability? I have been reading that most people like Gaia best.

Will Gaia allow you to see your location on the trail or give you some indication that you are on the right path like a handheld gps?

The reason for handheld gps is because if we get into an area where we have no smartphone signal, the phone may not give us a reliable gps signal, and we also want as many options as a backup.

I am open to all suggestions or if anyone has better options as well.

Thank You for your time,

32 Replies

Sorry - wrong thread!!!

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I love all trails! Works without service too!


DO NOT BUY GAIA FOR ANDROID! I wanted to like this app and used it for a couple of weeks with success.  Then, lately, the app completely failed multiple times  The screen on Samsung Galaxy suddenly and inexplicably shows no map at all, just black screen with a colored line, presumably the route. This is REALLY dangerous if you're counting on it in a whiteout or off trail suddenly the map screen goes black and you have no idea where you are. And, yes, I've tried every fix the company recommends and that you can find online multiple times with no success. Stay away from this product until they fix it.  Go with All Trails instead.  I have no financial interest of any sort in either app, I just don't want folks getting lost or worse by relying on GAIA GPS with an android phone.