If you have been around the outdoor travel communities online, then there is a good chance that you have heard of the AllTrails app. Designed to encourage people to spend more time in nature, the app makes it easy to find nearby trails with an easy search. But that’s not all that this powerful app can do.
For those that are on the fence about signing up, this post is for you.
After using the app for several years with our pack, including both the free version and AllTrails+, we have put together this comprehensive AllTrails review.
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What is the AllTrails App?
Before digging into the finer details, let’s start at the beginning. AllTrails is a website and mobile app that can be downloaded both on Apple and Android devices.
Originally founded in 2010 on the idea that spending time outdoors in nature benefits everyone, it has now grown to incorporate over 400,000 curated trails and a community of 45 million outdoor travel lovers.
The app allows you to easily locate trails in your geographic area and see important information related to each trail, including recent trail reviews, the trail length, trail difficulty, whether the location is pet-friendly, and more.
Among the trails included in their database, you can find everything from a casual walk with the kids to a challenging mountain biking trail or backpacking route and everything in between.
How Much Does AllTrails Cost?
The free version of AllTrails will provide you with access to trail locations and basic information.
However, it is limited to online use, meaning that you will be left without access to this information if you don’t have a mobile signal. That can prove to be a problem for those of us who enjoy exploring more remote locations.
If you are interested in upgrading to AllTrails+ (formerly called AllTrails Pro), the cost is CAD 35.99/year.
By upgrading, you will have access to offline and downloadable maps, wrong turn alerts, and more. Plus, you will be able to enjoy the app ad-free.
AllTrails Review: Features and Benefits
Discover New Trails in Your Area
Whether you’re searching for a new place close to home or want to stretch your legs in the middle of a road trip, the AllTrails app makes it easy to find trails nearby.
In December 2021, we packed up and moved to a new area 4 ½ hours from the place we’ve known as home. Using the AllTrails app, we could save a list of nearby trails that we couldn’t wait to explore.
We also frequently use the app to break up road trips by finding a trail where we can all get out, stretch our legs, and give the pups a much-needed bathroom break.
Trail listings offer the information you need to choose the best option for you and your pack, including length, difficulty, and even photos from other hikers.
You can also use filters to narrow your list of options, including, of course, whether the trails nearby are pet-friendly. No one wants to make the trip to check out a local trail with their pack only to find out that the furry hikers can’t join in on the fun!
Track Your Adventures
After choosing a trail, you can use the AllTrails app to track your movement. This is a great way to record the places you have visited and the experiences you have shared with your pack.
Not only will the app track your movement and create a visual layout of the path you travelled, but you can also add photos, details about the trail, and your review to help other outdoor travellers decide if it’s the right location for their next adventure.
Are you looking to reminisce? On your profile, you can view all your previous trips at any time.
Add to the Trail Collection
Do you have a favourite trail that isn’t listed on the app? Visit the trail and record your hike. When you’re finished, you can add it to the database.
This is a great way to share new locations with other outdoor travellers, allowing them to enjoy the area’s beauty.
Share on Social Media
The AllTrails app makes sharing and connecting easy for those who love the pet-friendly hiking community.
You can share your hikes on various social media apps, including Facebook and Instagram.
If you’re not interested in incorporating your social media accounts, AllTrails also allows users to connect with and follow one another.
GPS Navigation and Off-Route Notifications
The free version of the AllTrails app will allow you to navigate trails using your mobile data connection. You can see where you are along the path at any time during your hike.
If you upgrade to AllTrails+, you can continue enjoying this functionality without a data connection using offline, downloadable maps.
Another great feature when exploring a new location is the off-route notifications that come with AllTrails+. If you are navigating a new trail and wander off the trail, the app will alert you, allowing you to get back on track sooner.
Lifeline Safety Features
Safety has become an essential focus for many in our society, and for a good reason. This is a must-have if you plan to head to the trails alone!
The Lifeline feature is available with AllTrails+. It allows you to add up to 5 Lifeline contacts that will have access to your progress during your hike. To be your contact, they are not required to have an AllTrails account or even download the app.
When starting your hike, you select your contacts and set an expected return time. If, for any reason, you do not return when expected, Lifeline will send an alert to your set contacts with your last known coordinates.
Additional Map Overlays
The additional map overlays available with AllTrails+ will give you a better understanding of the trails you are considering at any given time.
Map overlay options in the AllTrails app include the following:
- Air quality
- Light pollution
- Pollen index
- Satellite weather
- Heat maps (user activity levels)
These are critical features for many outdoor travellers, including those with allergies or pet parents with a reactive dog trying to avoid a highly trafficked trail.
All Trails+ Vs. Free
Do you need help determining whether the free version or AllTrails+ would better serve you?
There is no arguing that AllTrails+ offers more functionality. But many outdoor travellers would access everything they need with the free version.
To help you decide whether you should upgrade, we have a chart comparing the two options.
|Feature||AllTrails Free App||AllTrails+|
|Access over 400,000 curated trails online||✔️||✔️|
|Save trails of interest for future adventures||✔️||✔️|
|Add new trails to the app||✔️||✔️|
|Track your adventure by recording your hikes||✔️||✔️|
|Filter trails based on several factors, including pet-friendly options||✔️||✔️|
|Leave reviews of trails you visit, including photos||✔️||✔️|
|Connect AllTrails with Apple Watch or Garmin Connect||✔️||✔️|
|Navigate while on the trail||✔️||✔️|
|Access downloadable, offline maps||✔️|
|Off-route notifications in the AllTrails Navigator||✔️|
|Print maps for backup||✔️|
|Give back with 1% for the Planet||✔️|
Cons of the AllTrails App
Some outdoor travellers are highly vocal about their concerns with the AllTrails app. The biggest problem is the fact that there is some misinformation on the app itself.
There will be some degree of inaccuracy with the option of adding a trail to the app at any time.
This can make some hikers question the legitimacy of the hike available. Especially those that are serious about finding remote, more challenging hikes.
We’re not saying that this concern is invalid. Our take is that there is some inaccuracy to be expected when a crowd-sourcing option is incorporated, so we take all information from other users with a grain of salt.
Final Thoughts: Is AllTrails+ Worth It?
Now for the answer you have all been waiting for – is the AllTrails+ worth the investment? The answer is… Maybe!
Okay, we know that’s not a clear answer for those of you on the fence. The truth is that it will depend on the type of outdoor adventures that you enjoy most.
For those that frequent highly popular trails in and around more urban settings, the free version of the app is likely enough for you to access everything you need. But, for those that enjoy more rural locations and detailed information, the AllTrails+ option is a great investment.
We have and use the AllTrails+ app regularly in our outdoor adventures. We believe it’s an excellent investment for outdoor travellers and recommend that anyone interested give it a try.
Does AllTrails Work Without Cell Service?
The free version of AllTrails does require a mobile connection to use the map navigation.
If you know you are travelling somewhere with a limited (or no) data connection, the AllTrails+ upgrade allows you to download offline maps for use when mobile data is unavailable.
What Makes a Hike Hard on AllTrails?
The trail ratings on AllTrails incorporate many different factors. This includes:
- Trail difficulty
- Steps involved in the trail
- Slippery rocks
- Difficult terrain
Understanding all these factors will help you identify whether the trail is a good fit for you and your “pack.” There is nothing to be gained by tackling a trail that is out of reach for a pack member. For example, while my husband and I would love to tackle more challenging trails, our senior girl is slightly limited with what works for her in terms of mobility.
Does AllTrails Work in Canada?
The AllTrails app is available in over 200 countries. Here in Canada, there are over 25,000 Canadian trials to explore!
AllTrails Vs Gaia GPS: Which is Better?
Both AllTrails and Gaia GPS have a lot of great features to offer. Choosing between the two should be based on the features you will need for your adventure.
AllTrails is much more beginner-friendly. It offers essential information for those wanting to get out and hike without feeling overwhelmed.
However, those that enjoy backcountry activities like hiking, mountaineering, off-roading, or backcountry camping may find that there isn’t enough information available for more remote locations. This is where Gaia GPS shines.
Do you currently use the AllTrails app? If so, we invite you to share your experience in the comments!