A trip to a national or state park can be quite exciting, but you want to make sure you are well equipped for the adventure. Navigating trails, finding campsites, and exploring eateries can be hectic, so you need to prepare ahead of time.
Fortunately, there are quite a few 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 one form or another. Here we will introduce you to eight of the best.
1. Allrails: Hike, bike and run
On the surface, Alltrails is a simple navigation app for people looking for new hiking trails. However, it goes deeper than that. The app uses your phone’s location to find new trails near you, but you can also search for trails in multiple locations.
It offers in-depth information for each trail, including current conditions, reviews from past hikers, and directions. It also helps you determine if a trail is friendly for children, pets, the elderly, or the disabled.
When visiting parks, you can plan ahead by keeping current conditions in mind. Thanks to its offline maps feature, it’s also one of the best apps for navigating mountain bike trails.
Download: Alltrails for iOS | Android (free, subscription available)
2. Chimani State & National Parks
This app can help you figure out which state park to visit next out of the thousands of options in the United States. It allows you to 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 track all your past visits and save information about your favorite parks. Finally, each entry also lists the different activities available in a particular park.
Download: Chimani State & National Parks for iOS | Android (free, subscription available)
3. National park trail guide
If you enjoy hiking while visiting national or state parks, you should definitely give this app a try. It 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 lists.
It also lets you search for hikes based on difficulty and shows you photos, stats and reviews for each site. The app goes in depth on factors such as altitude profiles, accommodation, camping conditions and more.
Download: National Park Trail Guide for iOS | Android (free)
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 in-depth information and guides about every national park in the country. The app also acts as a personal tour guide that tells you about the sights of each park you visit.
While other apps rely on information from past visitors, this one has insights from park rangers. It also helps you find facilities in each park and provides audio descriptions for certain trails. The app is for planning hikes, road trips or visits to national museums.
Download: National Park Service for iOS | Android (free)
5. Park pass
ParkPassport is an app created by the National Park Trust, a land conservation partner of the National Park Service. The app has a park finder that lets you discover nearby parks anywhere in America. However, it is the focus on various activities that makes this one stand out.
For example, you earn badges for completing various park and outdoor activities, which are visible in Digital passport. This feature gives you a sense of accomplishment and encourages you to explore more outdoor activities. It also details fishing information, camping conditions, virtual tours, educational videos and more.
Download: ParkPassport for iOS | Android (free)
6. Google Maps
From a navigation perspective, it’s hard to beat Google Maps compared to other apps. You can quickly search for cycle routes, hiking trails and parks. The app will then give you directions, reviews and a brief description of each entry.
Of all these apps, Google Maps is by far the most popular, so you’ll find the most reviews and photos here. The app also allows you to map your own course and create a planned route. Although not as in-depth as the other apps, it is a must for navigation.
Download: Google Maps for iOS | Android (free)
7. Campendium – Motorhome and tent camping
Campendium is without a doubt one of the best camping apps out there. This app helps you choose the right place to pitch your tent and have a pleasant experience outdoors. It also has an active community of campers across the US who regularly update information on various sites.
The search function allows you to filter through campgrounds in national and state parks. The filters are based on prices, amenities, discounts and more. The app also has an active community of active campers and RV enthusiasts. So you will easily find reviews, photos and price information for different campsites and resorts.
Download: Campendium for iOS | Android (free, subscription available)
8. PackPoint travel packing list
PackPoint is a bit of an outlier among the apps we’ve looked at so far. Instead of helping you find the nearest national park, this one helps you create a packing list for that visit. To start, simply enter your destination, day of travel and length of stay.
You can also tell the app whether you are going on a business or leisure trip. From there you can choose the activities you want to participate in during the trip. The app then compiles a comprehensive list of items to pack for the list. Of course, you can customize these lists to your liking.
Download: PackPoint for iOS | Android (free, in-app purchases available)
Plan a park trip to remember with these apps
A good number of these apps can help enhance your hiking experience, but many of them 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 is important to connect with nature sometimes, especially in today’s digital and always online world.