All hikers welcome!
While there are plenty of websites to get you specific information about a particular trail, that is not much help if you are new to the world of hiking and are not yet knowledgeable about what trails are out there. They also aren’t necessarily helpful for advice on getting started with hiking. The following ten websites are great for exploring this wonderful activity. They are listed in order of their Alexa traffic count rating.
Global Alexa Rating: 19,075
EveryTrail is an excellent way to locate hikes and connect with other hikers. There are guides and trips that are useful for planning your next adventure making it as useful a site for experienced hikers as new ones. This website helps you find adventure all over the world – even other activities besides hiking. Use the site to find a hiking trail near where you are, where you plan to be or where you would like to go. They also have a mobile app for both iPhone and Android.
Global Alexa Rating: 32,571
This website is from the producers of Backpacker Magazine – a well-loved publication for those that love the great outdoors. There are so many useful tools on this website that it just might end up being your favorite. There are top stories, videos and photos, a hike locator, community trip reports, gear reviews, forums and contests. They also have an interactive tool for searching over 5,000 products.
Global Alexa Rating: 34,137
Here you will have access to over 50,000 professional trail guides as well as availability of USGS topographical maps with advanced controls covering the entire Unites States. The community content is amazing with trail photos & reviews, articles, videos and forums to connect with other hikers. You can locate trails based on other interests such as waterfalls, campgrounds, birding, climbing or fishing. Simply start a free account for access to tons of information.
Global Alexa Rating: 40,857
AllTrails is a leading digital network for hikers that was founded in January 2010. They currently have over 700,000 members. The site includes a trail finder, member reviews, the ability to save a trail journal and find out about local events. You can sign up for membership easily and can connect with Facebook if you prefer. They also have a mobile app for iPhone and Android devices. They also offer a pro version for $49.99 per year that includes on-demand printing of maps, an advanced map editor, and comprehensive trail data.
Global Alexa Rating: 92,210
GORP is a complete online resource for all things outdoors. The site includes park guides, top weekend guides, national park guides, advice on gear, camping information and, of course, hiking information. The park finder feature lets you choose a region and state and select an outdoor activity and it will advise you of locations. The Q&A section is a useful tool with lots of questions posted and the ability to add your own.
Global Alexa Rating: 283,499
This is a very simple website that simply lists hiking trails near U.S. metropolitan areas. The areas are listed alphabetically by state right on the home page with the number of hikes shown in parenthesis. Select the location and you are taken to a list of the trails. Select a trail to get to more information including distance, elevation gain, hike time, difficulty, trail condition, hike type, a summary, trailhead and who submitted the information about the hike. Users can rate the hikes using a 5 star system. Besides the metro areas, if you select the ZZ option at the bottom, it brings up more hikes that are outside of metro areas.
Global Alexa Rating: 428,785
Trail Journals is a site for long distance hikers to share their backpacking journals and photos. This can be a great resource for a new hiker to read up on what the experienced hikers are undergoing and the trials and rewards they are sharing about. Check out those that are currently on the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail – you’ll find it fascinating! You will almost feel like you are right there with them. You can see what they write, any photos they share and in some cases what gear they are using. One day you may be the one sharing your experiences!
Global Alexa Rating: 543,493
For more than 35 years, the AHS has been involved in protecting trails and thus the hiking experience. The site includes news and resources for hikers. One thing you might enjoy is the ability to get involved in volunteer vacations. For one small registration fee you get put on a crew of 6 to 15 volunteers. You are provided food throughout the week, sleeping accommodations which could be anything from primitive camping to cabins, and the tools and equipment needed for the task at hand, mainly rehabilitating trails. Projects are rated from easy to very strenuous so you can choose one that meets with your physical capabilities. All you need is your own tent, sleeping bag and pad, if desired. Other necessary gear will depend on the trip and a list will be provided. This just might be a way to get started with the hiking experience, or could be a way to give back for those that avail themselves of the trails regularly.
Global Alexa Rating: 1,501,408
This site is devoted to bringing you informative descriptions and stunning photos of as many of the world’s hiking trails as possible. It is their hope to eventually have at least one trail in each of the fifty states and others from around the world. So far they include over 400 trails ranging from less than a quarter of a mile to over twenty miles, each one personally hiked by at least two hikers from their crew. The site is full of great photos including photos of the hikers that are part of the endeavor.
Global Alexa Rating: 2,816,088
This is a website devoted especially to the female hiker. It addresses many of the concerns that women have such as how to stay safe on a trail. There is quite a bit of information compiled by Diane Spicer including types of hiking, best hiking trails, information on solo hiking and social hiking, best hiking tips, hiking gear, hiking nutrition, resources and more. You can also sign up for her free newsletter and you can share your hikes with her.
The more you read about hiking, the better prepared you will be to venture out and hit the trails. Read up on the gear that will keep you safe and provide some of the comforts of home while still keeping in touch with nature. Whether you are looking for day hikes or long distance hikes, you will find what you are looking for on these websites. Happy Trails!