A trip to a national or state park can be quite exciting, but you’ll want to make sure you’re well-equipped for the adventure. Navigating trails, finding campgrounds, and exploring dining options can get hectic, so you’ll need to prepare properly beforehand.
Fortunately, there are a good number of apps that can help you plan a successful and enjoyable visit to a national or state park. Most of these apps can help you make the most of your trip in some way. Here, we’ll introduce you to eight of the best.
1. Alltrails: Hike, Bike, and Run
On the surface, Alltrails is a simple navigation app for people looking for new hiking trails. However, it goes beyond that. The app uses your phone’s location to find new trails near you, but you can also search for trails in other locations.
It offers detailed information for each route, including current conditions, reviews from past users, and directions. It also helps you determine if a trail is kid-, pet-, elderly-, or disabled-friendly.
When visiting the parks, you can plan ahead with current conditions in mind. Thanks to the offline maps feature, it is also one of the best apps for navigating mountain biking trails.
2. Chimani National and State Parks
This app can help you figure out which state park to visit next from thousands of options across the United States. It lets you find parks based on location, historical significance, wildlife viewing, and more. The app also has a massive catalog of travel guides for different parks. Like Alltrails, this one also offers an offline map feature.
Plus, every time you visit a park, you can unlock a virtual badge by planning through the app. You can even keep track of all your past visits and save information about your favorite parks. Finally, each entry also lists the different activities available at a specific park.
3. National Park Trail Guide
If you like to hike while visiting national or state parks, you should definitely give this app a try. Includes descriptive trail data and information on hiking conditions for most national parks in the United States. You can search for parks near you or plan a future trip by viewing the app’s curated listings.
It also lets you search for hikes by difficulty and shows you photos, stats, and reviews for each site. The app delves into factors like elevation profiles, lodging, camping conditions, and more.
4. National Park Service
This is an official app created by the National Park Service, a government agency in the United States. As such, it includes detailed information and guides on all of the country’s national parks. The app also acts as a personal tour guide, telling you about the points of interest in each park you visit.
While other apps rely on information from previous visitors, this one has information from park rangers. It also helps you find amenities at each park and provides audio descriptions for certain trails. The app is for planning hikes, road trips, or visits to national museums.
5. Passport Park
ParkPassport is an app created by the National Park Trust, a land conservation partner of the National Park Service. The app features a park finder that allows you to discover nearby parks anywhere in the United States. However, the focus on different activities is what makes this one stand out.
For example, earn badges for completing different activities in the park and outdoors, which can be viewed on the digital passport. This feature gives you a sense of accomplishment and encourages you to explore more outdoor activities. It also details information on fishing, camping conditions, virtual tours, educational videos and more.
6. Google Maps
From a navigation perspective, it’s hard to beat Google Maps compared to other apps. You can quickly search for bike routes, hiking trails, and parks. The app will then give you directions, reviews, and a short description of each entry.
Of all these apps, Google Maps is by far the most popular, which is why you’ll find most of the reviews and photos here. The app also allows you to chart your own course and create a planned route. While it’s not as deep as the other apps, it’s a must for navigation.
7. Campendium – RV and Tent
Campendium is by far one of the best camping apps out there. This app helps you choose the right place to pitch your tent and have a nice outdoor experience. It also has an active community of campers in the United States who regularly update the information on different sites.
The search feature allows you to filter through campgrounds in national and state parks. Filters are based on prices, services, discounts and more. The app also features an active community of active campers and RV enthusiasts. So you’ll easily find reviews, photos, and pricing information for different campgrounds and resorts.
8. PackPoint Travel Packing List
PackPoint is a bit of an outlier among the apps we’ve seen so far. Instead of helping you find the nearest national park, this one helps you create a packing list for that visit. To get started, simply enter your destination, day of travel, and length of stay.
You can also tell the app if you are traveling for business or pleasure. From there, you can choose the activities you want to participate in during the trip. The app then selects a complete list of items to pack for the list. Of course, you can further customize these lists to your liking.
Plan a trip to the park to remember with these apps
A good number of these apps can help you enhance your hiking experience, but many of them go further and help you plan a park visit to remember. There’s a lot to do when visiting a national or state park, and you can make your next trip a frustration-free experience with these apps.
Also, these apps are great for helping you spend time outdoors. It’s essential to connect with nature at times, especially in today’s digital and always-online world.