Hit the Trails this Summer with Your Smartphone

Apps to help you experience the great outdoors.

By on July 10, 2012

Summer is here and for many it’s hiking season. Whether you’re a hiking enthusiast planning to tackle the most challenging trails in the U.S., or simply out for a weekend excursion with the family, your smartphone can help you make the most of your adventure.

Before hitting the trails, a quick check of your favorite app store can provide maps, tips and other helpful information. Going to a National Park? The National Park Maps app is a GPS enabled app with information on the 20 U.S. National Parks, including campgrounds, picnic areas and other nearby facilities

Looking for a trail near your home? The AllTrails app includes information from more than 40,000 trail guides on everything from hiking to mountain biking to fly fishing. With the search function, users can search for trails by name or location.

For nature lovers, a smartphone with a great camera is essential to document the birds and plant life spotted on your hike. The Droid Razr Maxx is a good option, with an 8-megapixel camera to capture vivid pictures and settings such as “panorama mode,” or “multi-shot mode,” to snap several shots of your find before it flies away.

There are also many apps to help nature lovers identify birds and plants they see on their travels, including iForest and Botany Buddy, which helps explorers identify plants and flowers. iBird Explorer Pro is great for bird watchers, it can help in identifying the behavior and habitat of hundreds of species of birds and also includes ecology information.

For the extreme adventurist, a ruggedized device, such as the Casio G’zOne Commando can provide peace of mind when you are in rough terrain. The Commando meets military standards for water, shock and dust resistance, so you can have comfort knowing that your phone is safe, and nearly unbreakable if dropped.

Whatever path you choose, wireless technology can help document your trip and keep you connected on the trails.