Apple Brings Hiking Trails to Apple Maps

Posted by
Heather Balogh Rochfort
June 11, 2024

Hiking in Colorado's Fall Color

Move over, AllTrails.

Announced yesterday, Apple will be bringing some of AllTrail’s most popular hiking features into its very own Apple Maps. And the kicker? It’ll be free.

Monday was the first day of the Apple Worldwide Developer’s Conference, and hundreds of employees congregated to watch presentations on Apple’s upcoming tech innovations and software upgrades.

A lot of those upgrades aren’t in our wheelhouse, but our ears perked up when Craig Federighi discussed the iOS 18 news. As a journalist, I’d argue he buried the lede because this is big news for those of us in the hiking community. 

Topographic Maps + Trail Maps: Coming to Apple Maps

First up: trail networks. In particular, all trail systems will be included for all 63 of the US national parks. Users will even have the option to get turn-by-turn directions via voice guidance on these trails, assuming you downloaded a map first. And, users can create their own trails, too.

“Maps delivers new topographic maps with detailed trail networks and hiking routes, including all 63 U.S. national parks, that can be saved to your phone and accessed offline,” Federighi said.

And, topography is now on the table. All of these trail networks and hiking routes will have topographic maps that show elevation gain and loss. And, for hikers who do a lot of advanced planning (aka most of us), you’ll be able to hang onto a “library” of saved and downloaded hikes.

Hiking in Canada
The hiking community has long had to toggle between apps such as AllTrails, onX or Gaia. Could Apple Maps be the new — and easier — solution? // pc: Heather Balogh Rochfort

And it’s all for free. It’s clear that Apple has hung back and watched the success of AllTrails (named their iPhone App of 2023) as they’ve dominated the hiking market. But downloadable maps and other similar features are only available on the paid version of AllTrails, costing roughly $36 per year.

As an added upgrade, Apple is also enhancing their Messaging for the off-grid crew. With these latest updates, users will be able to send messages via satellite. This means they’ll use the same technology currently used for emergency communications to allow backcountry users to send messages without cellular data or Wi-Fi. 

What does this mean for AllTrails?

We don’t have a magic ball to see into the future, but it can’t be good. In the United States, close to 60% of Americans use an iPhone, which means the bulk of the population will have access to all of these features immediately — and for free. 

And AllTrails isn’t without its flaws, too. We’ve reviewed the popular hiking app in the past and while we love what they’ve done for the hiking market, the user-aggregated information isn’t always accurate. (I can personally point to a few hikes with incorrect beta, if I’m being honest.)

Apple hasn’t released all of the details, but the we can expect to see these updates in action when the fruity giant rolls out iOS 18 later this year.

Seen in: Gear, News

Find your next adventure

Sign up for Weekend Wanderer and join thousands of readers getting epic travel ideas weekly.

Related Posts