If you’re a mountain biker, you know that finding and navigating the ideal trails can be difficult. It can also be challenging to find new trails that match your skill and fitness level when cycling in a new area.
At the same time, you don’t want to head out on the weekend and tackle a challenging climb only to find that your favorite blue-rated flow trail is under construction and the only way down is the double black technical trail with its gnarly, steep, slippery rock face. Worry no more: Trailforks is a must-have mountain bike trail map and tracking app.
What sets Trailforks apart from the rest
Trailforks has a database of nearly 500,000 trails in over 100 countries, meaning you’re likely to find maps for trails where you ride. With interactive trail maps, Trailforks makes it easy to pick and choose routes – from easy climbs to double black descents, from flow trails to technical sections – and each is labeled with a common ride score, difficulty level, distance, elevation gain and average time to complete. Many trails also include photos and videos.
Trailforks is the best mountain bike app because it uses a crowdsourced database powered by other mountain bikers. Each person can expand and curate the database by adding new trails, updating existing ones, submitting reports on trail conditions, and logging their rides. By relying on users’ real-world GPS information, trail data is accurate and up-to-date.
Unlike other apps, Trailforks was built from the ground up with local mountain bike associations in mind. This means that local mountain bike associations can use Trailforks to manage content in their region. People who know the trails best can curate content and provide advice, recommendations and route planning options approved by local land managers
By helping trail associations in this way, Trailforks supports a reliable platform with reliable data that all riders can use to have a better experience on the mountain. What also makes it unique is that it is also a moderated site. Photos and videos can be added by other riders, but the content is moderated through voting and reporting of content.
The Trailforks website and access to maps and trail data are free to access on the Trailforks website. You can use all the features of the app for free for the first seven days. After that, you can still access your chosen home region for free, forever. However, you must upgrade to Pro to unlock unlimited access to worldwide trail maps.
Download: Trailforks for iOS | Android (free)
Using Trailforks with other training devices
While it’s possible to use an Android device as a GPS tracker, consider something from Garmin if you’re looking for accuracy, consistency, and additional health monitoring features (depending on the device). As expected, Garmin’s Connect IQ app store includes a long list of devices that work with Trailforks.
By using Trailforks with one of these devices, you can get turn-by-turn navigation while in the middle of nowhere. If you already have a Garmin device and Trailforks did not come installed from the factory, you can install the Garmin-specific Trailforks app to integrate seamlessly with the Trailforks website and database.
Trailforks makes the Garmin Connect IQ app available on newer Edge devices such as the 520, 820, 1000 and 1030. This app allows you to transfer a route or course from the Trailforks website or app to your Garmin device, which you can then use as a turn-by-turn navigation system.
Download: Trailforks for Garmin (free)
The Trailforks app on Garmin Edge devices has three main sections:
1. My routes
In this section, you’ll be able to see all the routes you’ve sent to your Garmin device or that you’ve added to your wish list on the Trailforks website or mobile app. Routes can include those you have created on your own, as well as routes created by other users or even race courses added by a local trail association.
2. Nearby routes
In this section you will find routes adapted to your riding style and preferred level of difficulty. This is made possible by using Trailfork’s Ridelog feature, which analyzes your ride history to make tailored recommendations.
3. Browse the best routes
In this section, you’ll be able to see curated routes, including the best routes in Trailforks’ catalog, called Trailforks Gold routes. This is also where you will find routes for upcoming races, which should make it easy to run some training rides or follow along on race day.
By using Trailforks on other Garmin devices, such as the feature-rich MARQ Smartwatch, you can monitor heart rate, heart rate variability, respiration, stress levels, sleep scores, VO2 max, endurance and other health-related data.
Trailfork’s YouTube integration
While you can browse YouTube channels to help you learn to ride faster, another cool feature of Trailforks is how it maintains a directory of the best mountain biking YouTube channels focused on cycling. Videos from these channels can also be linked to trails listed on Trailforks, including your local trails. A quick search will reveal video after video of local riders shredding singletrack in your region – great for a burst of inspiration to hit the trails or a preview of what to expect.
Discover riding recommendations on Trailforks
When you use the Trailforks smartphone app to record ride information, Trailforks can scan your ride history and learn what kinds of activities you regularly participate in. Using this data, Trailforks can make local route suggestions for you.
The good news is that if you’ve never used Trailforks before (or if you have the app but aren’t currently using the ride log feature), you can start tracking your activities with the Trailforks app at any time. For those of you who have been using Strava to log your rides, you can connect your Strava account to import data.
Trailfork’s Heat Map feature
One of the nicest features offered by Trailforks is the heatmap feature. As the name suggests, the app can color trails on a map based on how popular the trail is with riders, with the most ridden trails shown as red and the least ridden trails shown as green. The popularity is only calculated based on rider data from the last year and is only relative to other trails in the same region. With this feature you can easily find the most popular trails in a region.
Should you download Trailforks for your mountain bike adventures?
Trailforks offers a handful of unique features that set it apart from the competition. It also pairs perfectly with fitness devices, social media and even other cycling apps like Strava. The excellent app, accurate data and tight integration with fitness trackers make this well worth a try for your next mountain bike ride.