Best apps for navigating (beginners)

Navigating should always be done as safely as possible. It is important to establish bearings and identify landmarks to get better location awareness.

tread wiser, personal development, personal development blogs, travel and adventure, mindset and mentality, physical development, blogging, writing, freelancing, blog, climbing, hiking, outdoors, survival, habits, habit forming, fitness, travel, adventure, nature, conservation, wildlife.


This blog is designed to help beginners navigate their way around towns, cities or on hiking trails. The apps listed in this blog are apps I personally use for navigation and are all free.

iPhone Compass:

All new iPhones come with an inbuilt compass app which can be quite handy. Its easy to use for first-timers. Once you have used the iPhone Compass app to establish the directions of North, South, East and West, it becomes easier to use other apps for navigation to then double check your bearings. For example, if you know that directly in front of you a huge mountain, and now you recognise that direction is East. You can open other map apps to then cross check if you are going the right way (EG should I be heading East according to this Map?)


MapsMe is a free App which lets you download maps offline. MapsMe has a very simple layout and is user friendly which features clearly outlined on a plain background. I often use MapsMe for simpler hikes and its route to and from function is helpful in determining elevation gain. However MapsMe does not always give an accurate time for hike distances and is less detailed than other hiking apps. For these reasons MapsMe is a great free and simple app for navigating and I recommend it.


Google Maps

It would be remise of me to not include GoogleMaps on this list. Being a free tool which is useful all around the world GoogleMaps is definitely an App I have used a lot. Depending on my situation I may use MapsMe (above) or GoogleMaps. I find in cars and on transport or when in cities GoogleMaps an easier tool to use. I also love the ability to download maps offline with GoogleMaps. For all these reasons it is a constant app for navigating that I use when in towns or cities or on hikes.



AllTrails is a great free app for hiking. It allows user to view trails on a map, while reading reports from recent hikers which can catalogue the conditions of the trail. For example if a road to the trailhead was snowed-over, or if a part of a trail had been diverted due to landslide. AllTrails gives users the ability to see elevation gain and trail length and estimated times. Users can also leave comments on the AllTrails App for other hikers to see which is very helpful in understanding hike or trail difficulty levels. AllTrails is also a good tool for mountain biking making it a valuable app for navigating.



FatMap is a free app which allows user to see maps in 3D. This topographical feature allows you to make out the shape of mountains or the surrounding terrain, and for this reason is a crowd favourite for other sports like mountain biking or skiing. Being able to see a map in 3D gives an added layer of perspective and also a very cool view of what is around you such as rivers or lakes. For that reason FatMap is a great app for navigation to add to your toolbox!  


Want to keep reading? You may also like:

Best apps for hiking that I use

Best apps for travel that I use

These blogs are aimed at helping readers through their personal development journey by expanding their comfort zones and positively improve quality of life through a growth mindset. Blog topics may include travel and adventure, mindset and mentality, or physical development.

You may also like these podcasts:

TreadWiser Podcast:

Huberman lab podcast

BBC Radio 4 Podcast with Brian Cox – Physicist