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3 No-Cost National Park Mobile Apps For Your Next Trip

2. REI National Parks Guide and Map

Available through both  iTunes and Google Play Store
Price: Free
National Park Mobile Apps

Key Features

  • Currently includes 13 parks with complete guides in progress for 16 more parks. *You can view all of the guides in progress which I found nearly as useful as the complete guides.
  • Offers a written overview of the park, basic information about fees, open dates, visitor centers, campgrounds, and shuttles.
  • Features a gallery of user-added photos. Upload your own photos or simply find inspiration from those added by other users.
  • Trails, trails, trails! This app is all about hiking trials. Browse the Featured Gems, Best Hikes, and Family Friendly hikes in each park. All listings include a description of the trail, milage, elevation gain, and user ratings.
  • The detailed interactive trails map shows all hiking trails in the park along with parking areas, visitor centers, viewpoints, and campgrounds. Maps are available for offline use, and even without a cell signal will show your current location using the GPS on your phone.
  • Add trails to your To-Do list with a single click. Filter the list by park for easy viewing.

National Parks Mobile App
Pros

  • The hiking trail map is excellent with lots of details and includes many trails and backcountry locations far away from the crowded drive-up viewpoints.
  • The maps are available for offline use which is an essential feature in most National Parks where cell service is spotty at best.
  • Users can add GPS tracks of trails that are not on the hiking trails map.
  • The To-Do-List is easily populated with a single click.

Cons

  • Currently only includes a limited amount of parks.
  • When in offline mode the trails map does not show as much detail as when online. This is a minor complaint, but still worth noting.

National Parks Mobile Apps
The Bottom Line

This app is brand new for 2016. It was created by REI in partnership with the National Park Service to help celebrate their 100th anniversary. While it doesn’t yet include all of the parks, the updates seem to be coming fast, and I am eager to see where it goes in the next few months.

The very best feature of this app is the hiking trials map and detailed information about each hike. Hiking is by far the most popular activity in most national parks, and having a detailed map with all the info you need right in your pocket is a huge draw.

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I experimented with the hiking map both on and offline and found it usable even when I didn’t have a signal, which is key when visiting a national park.



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