AllTrails is a website/app that features mapped hiking trails created through the power of crowdsourcing. This review is in no way affiliated with AllTrails. But it is a vital resource to birders and hikers. Let’s get started!
First impressions of AllTrails is a great big wow! After creating an account you enter a digital map that we are all familiar with but with a lot more going on. The map is covered with blue location pins, topography, parks marked in green, water features, and of course trails. These are all centered around what the website thinks is your location.
Note: for much of this review I am on the website using a 32-inch monitor. The map is huge! Plus, it is centered around Chicago suburbia so there are a lot of parks; and of course a ton of roads.
Once you get orientated, navigating the maps is straightforward and easy. Zoom in and out, pan, click. Easy. On the left is a smattering of trail “blocks” that are currently found within your location. These have names, photos, and when you hover show up on the map.
The information has been entered by users which makes it incredibly thorough, beautiful, and fun to explore. There are bound to be some inaccuracies, but the system lets you suggest edits and add your own trails.
Adding a Trail
There are a great number of hiking trails in my local area scattered across numerous forest preserves and conservation areas. The majority of these trails are marked on the map but do not necessarily have an official “trail review”. Thus, we can add new trails.
To add a trail you go to your profile and under contribute, click “Add new trail”. There are 3 steps to adding your trail.
Step 1: Starting location
Step 2: Draw or upload a route
Step 3: Add your trail information
In this final step you give the trail a name, add a difficulty rating, usage, activities, features, obstacles, accessibility, and interesting enough, whether the trail is dog friendly or not.
Your profile is where you record all your completed trails, add reviews, photos and more. You can also search and follow other AllTrails members.
AllTrails Pro has a lot of additional features at a relatively minimal cost. A 3-year plan is $69.99 or less than two dollars a month!
Many of the Pro features are best suited for the app. These include downloading maps for when you can’t get a good signal, “Lifeline” tracking to keep others informed of your location and expected return time, as well as the ability to create custom routes. You can also use several map overlays such as weather, fire history, and air quality.
These map overlays are also available on the desktop version plus you can print out custom maps.
Going Pro also eliminates ads which is always a good thing!
AllTrails is an exceptionally good hiking tool for your next birding adventure. Its features and community are what the technology of the internet was made for. Practical, useful information to encourage more trips into nature, safely and confidently. Definitely worth it to go Pro!