After yet another message on Facebook asking me “What was that app you used for the walks, Julia?” I thought it was about time that I told everyone my secret as to how I find new walks in my local area. I am keen to walk at least one brand new 3-5 mile walk every month. I know that each walk changes with the seasons but I am keen to keep people interested and I am also keen to discover the hidden delights of my area.
I am about to let you into my world, so be prepared for a bit of geekiness!
#1 – Alltrails.com
The main application that I use is Alltrails.
Pro's – The app is available for Android and iOS, but the desktop version is also excellent. I find working on a computer to plot my walks is so much easier than using an app. When you are ready to take your walk, simply click “start walk” and it works a bit like a satnav and is so easy to use. Similar to a SatNav, you can instantly see where you are, and which direction you are going. It is also a fabulous community app where you can favourite your walks that you like the most and see comments from other hikers. I had tried other apps but there was nothing out there with directions as good as Alltrails, so my “geekiness” kicked in!
I soon discovered that I could plot my own routes into Alltrails. It is super easy to do on the desktop version. Yippee! I was now on a mission to get lots of local routes uploaded into Alltrails and finding more walks was not hard!
Con's – The only problem with Alltrails is that the volume of walks is very limited. I have now walked all of the 3-6 mile hikes in this area which was disappointing but with the “plot you own hike” option, this is really not too much of an issue.
Here are my main sources for finding walks elsewhere, which I then plot into Alltrails.com
#2 – Walkingworld.com (I use the app).
Pro's – The Walkingworld app has LOTS of walks, with a variety of levels and distances. There is something for everyone here.
One fabulous feature of this app is the checkpoints (I really like this idea). If you are looking to venture out on your own then the visual checkpoints are excellent. The routes are graded and the come with lots of history which is helpful and keeps the walk interesting. It also has walks that are all over the world, although by far the main source is UK walks.
Con's – If you use the free version of walkingworld.com then you can only view one walk at a time. The actual maps are limited but there is enough information to plot your walk into Alltrails. If you wanted to upgrade to unleash the extra map benefits and be able to access more than one walk, then it is not expensive (£18 a year). These costs help support the website and maintenance.
#3 – Viewranger.com
Pro's – Of all the apps, viewranger.com certainly has the most walks.
The variety is excellent (especially for Northamptonshire). Most of my walks have been sourced using this particular application and then I plot them onto the Alltrails app as the navigation on Viewranger is super confusing to use.
Con's – The desktop version of the route mapping is a bit dated, but you can get the details, a map of the routes and the integrated map makes it easy to find new routes. The navigation within the application is awful. I got confused using this app in my own town, so god knows what I would be like using it in unfamiliar territory.
#3 – iFootpath
Pro's – The iFootpath app offers some fabulous walks and the navigation is also excellent (it integrates with Google and has a neat little compass so you know which direction you are walking). This app also offers checkpoints along with accompanying photos which help with visual navigation. If you have recently walked the Cosgrove/Grand Union Canal walk with Adventure Geek then this was plotted with iFootpath. The iFootpath is by far the most modern application for walking, I just wish it had more content.
Con's – The only downside is that once again, a bit like Alltrails, you are limited to the number of walks. For example, the walks near Towcester are limited to just two walks.
#4 – Health Walks – Local Council
I recently visited Towcester Food Festival where I picked up four booklets that were produced by South Northants County Council. Inside were many walks, with maps and photos. I have now transferred most of these walks onto Alltrails so that I have all the information at my fingertips. If you search your local council website then you will be amazed how much information about local walks you can find.
Would you like to plot your own routes?
If you are interested in learning how to plot your own route onto Alltrails then let me know by commenting below. If I have enough interest then I will put a simple “how to” video together to show you how I transfer the walks from the various sources into this one app. Having all the information in one place makes life so much easier!