Whether you’re an occasional runner or training for your next race, jogging around the neighborhood or hiking through Patagonia, recent advances in technology have transformed the way we exercise. Smartphones are now equipped with GPS software and fitness trackers. Built-in analytic systems allow us to generate progress reports with detailed insights. And a slew of integrated social media tools make sharing your athletic endeavours with friends easier than ever.
Today, the masterminds behind the growing line of running apps have gone one step further, answering the popular question: how do I find the best running trails near me? With databases as large as 150,000+ routes worldwide, these apps intelligently merge exercise with exploration, helping trailblazers find - and navigate - new running routes and trails.
From which app is best for finding popular scenic routes to the one that’ll help you discover hidden backtrail gems, plus others with features like guided turn-by-turn voice navigation and gamified challenges - we’ve rounded up our favorite apps for finding running routes and trails so that you can have the ultimate running experience, without getting lost.
6 Best Apps for Finding Running Trails Near Me
1. For the Traveler: RunGo
Photo source: RunGo
Created by avid runner and marathon champion, Craig Slagel, RunGo is the running-app-meets-travel-app must-have. The app helps runners find great routes, and then guides them with turn-by-turn voice navigation. RunGo’s database features 100,000+ routes from all over the globe, with 200 new routes being added each day. Trails are curated by the RunGo team, as well as certified local run groups, and each route is verified before it’s added to the app - so you can rest assured you’re in good hands.
Download pre-charted routes and use the maps offline. Grab your favorite pair of wireless headphones and explore a new city with voice navigation that also announces points of interest and other information. Or, create your own routes, and easily share them with friends via the app’s social integration tools.
RunGo also offers built-in tracking essentials so that you can monitor running stats like time, pace, splits, distance and elevation.
2. For the Nature Lover: AllTrails
Photo source: AllTrails
With over 50,000 trails in its database, AllTrails is perfect for outdoor exploration in major US cities and popular state and national parks. From walking to running, mountain biking to paddle sports, you can find trails for just about any outdoor activity. You can also fine-tune your search by using the filters. Browse based on length, difficulty level, what you want to see (like caves or lakes), and by suitability (kid-friendly, dog-friendly, etc.).
One of AllTrails’ most unique, and perhaps most valuable, features is the access it grants to such a large and active local community of outdoor enthusiasts. You can read trail reviews and check out photos posted by members who recently completed trails you’re interested in. There’s also a recording feature that allows you to keep a diary of all your completed outings.
When you select a route, the app will also provide you with driving directions to the head of the trail. But do keep in mind, AllTrails does not offer in-app navigation, and if you’d like access to offline maps, you’ll have to pay the monthly fee of $2.50 for the Pro version.
3. For the Mountain Seeker: ViewRanger
Photo source: ViewRanger
ViewRanger specializes in outdoor maps, offering one of the best digital collections you can possibly get your hands on. For free, download terrain maps worldwide, as well as detailed topographic maps from 23 countries. The high quality maps are provided by official mapping agencies ViewRanger has partnered with. When you opt for the USA Map Bundle upgrade, you’ll also get access to four additional types of trail maps: USGS Topo, USA Topo, USA Slopes, USA Land Cover.
With ViewRanger, choose from over 150,000+ trails. To help you further plan out your trip, the app also features ‘routes guides’ with photos and tips for each particular route. The guides are contributed by outdoor brands and publications, tourism agencies, national parks, travel writers, and other ViewRanger community members from around the world. There’s been so many times I’ve found myself struggling to find good hiking trails near me while traveling - these guides make you feel like you’re getting trustworthy recommendations from a good friend. Plus, you can download all the maps and guides to use offline, free of cost.
Another feature worth noting is Skyline. By using your device’s camera, ViewRanger can identify peaks, places, and other points of interest up to 20 miles away using augmented reality. Cliffs, towns, caves, lakes - you name it - Skyline knows 9 million points and can even work offline. While this is a premium feature, it’s definitely worth it! (The all-inclusive premium annual fee is $19.99. Or, you can opt for the $4.99 monthly fee.)
4. For the Goal Setter: RunKeeper
Photo source: RunKeeper
In addition to running routes, RunKeeper is designed for those looking to track progress. Whether you’re training for a marathon or race, working to improve your 5k pace, or have a desired weight you’re trying to reach, the Goal Coach feature helps generate personalized routines that are feasible, yet centered around reaching your specific goal.
The app records useful metrics, like pace, distance, and calories burned, so that you can monitor your progress over time. You can also join in-app gamified challenges, making it a fun way to stay motivated.
5. For the Creator: Footpath Route Planner
Photo source: Footpath Route Planner
Straightforward and easy to use, yet nonetheless fantastic - this app lets you plan and measure routes by simply tracing the outline of any given path on a map. I remember when the struggle to find running trails near me meant tedious research on my laptop. This app lets you plan your run in literally seconds.
With free offline capability, Footpath is great for travelers. Whether it be cycling, mountain biking, running, backcountry skiing, or kayaking - the app is designed for any activity, in just about every country. Especially if you’re in the midst of training, or simply want to make sure you stick to your usual 5k while on vacation, the measuring tool is likely to become your best friend. When you opt for the paid subscription, you’ll also get access to premium topo maps, 3D maps, Apple Health integration, and several other features.
iOS / Free** / Elite package available
6. For Everyone: Charity Miles
Photo source: Charity Miles
Not necessarily an app to find running trails per se, Charity Miles is nonetheless something we should all be using in tandem with our favorite running apps. By clocking your activity via the app, a donation will be made to your charity of choice for every mile you log. You’ll simply be doing what you’d already otherwise be doing - while also having a positive impact.
You can choose from over 40 charities working on initiatives that help the environment, health, children, animals, education, and more. It’s free to download and has recently partnered with Strava - meaning you sync all your data between the two apps.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your favorite running headphones, launch up your go-to running trails app, and hit the pavement.