Health and fitness are important subjects for all of us, but I lost my youthful infatuation with "working out" a long time ago. These days, I prefer to get my exercise with activities like hiking. And with fall on the way, hiking through a colorful forest is going to take priority. That is why I downloaded the AllTrails Hiking & Biking app from Google Play.
Find your Trail
The AllTrails Hiking & Biking app is free for both Android and Apple iOS (sorry, no Windows Phone version). When you start the app, it will ask you to log in to the AllTrails website, but you can skip that step if you haven't registered with the service. The app will use the GPS location provided by your device as a focal point and then present you with a list of nearby trails.
Your results will be different than mine of course, but I was surprised by the number of local hiking trails available in the Louisville area. There are well over 100 trails within 20 miles of my location, with over a dozen within the Louisville Metro border proper. I found one hiking trail that literally passes within a mile of my home – I never knew it was there.
The default search of trails classifies them by difficulty, but you can search for trails with specific features like wildlife or water as well. You can also search for trails friendly to dogs or children, for example.
When you click on a particular listing, you can check out a map of the trail, run through a slide show of images of what you will see, and even get directions on how to get to the head of the trail via Google Maps. You can also read reviews from people who have previously hiked the trail.
Upgrade to Pro
All of this information comes with the free app, but if you want to get serious about your hiking, I would suggest you create an account on the AllTrails website and log in. By connecting to the website, you can then take advantage of tools that allow you to check in when you reach the trail and then record your hike for future reference. You can take pictures and mark notable spots on the trail and share them with other users of the AllTrails website.
If you are really serious about your hiking, you will likely want to pay the $29.99 annual subscription fee for the AllTrails Pro service. The Pro service gives you access to topographical maps and other tools important for hiking remote and more difficult trails. This would probably be money well spent if you are going to venture into wilderness areas.
Hiking is a great way to exercise without feeling like you are "working out." And with the AllTrails Hiking & Biking app, you can find nearby trails you never knew existed. Besides providing exercise, hiking is also a great way to purge the mind of life's day-to-day problems and gain some perspective on what matters. You should give it a try.