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6 Must-Have Outdoor Apps

A person with a black glove holding a smartphone with an image of a detailed map on it

The Best Outdoor Adventure Apps

The wilderness; for some, it’s a place to disconnect and to reconnect. These days, technology has made our life easier in countless ways and in turn, our attempts to detach ourselves from screens have been made more difficult. However, there is no doubt that technology can be an extremely useful tool when planning an adventure or even during it. With easy access to smartphones, it’s a tool that most explorers don’t leave the house without.

Apps can help make your expedition safer, easier, and more interactive. From first aid to mapping to trail planning and weather, there are a plethora of outdoor apps to aid those adventurers out there. But with thousands available, it can be difficult to choose which one suits you and your trip the best.

Furthermore, Big Bend National Park is an explorer’s playground, but you may need some help navigating it. In southwest Texas, Big Bend boasts the entire Chisos mountain range with various marked trails and a big percentage of the Chihuahuan Desert. The Rio Grande runs through the park and there are endless nooks and crannies waiting to be discovered and the apps listed below will be useful downloads before you venture out into the vast Big Bend world.

So before you arrive at Big Bend, let’s take a look at the apps:


  • NATIONAL PARK SERVICE: The official NPS app was released in early 2021 and is free! It allows you to explore more than 400 US national parks, Big Bend included. The app will share local alerts and conditions, maps, and hiking trails as well as basic park information like internet/cell access, weather, and more!
    Available for iOS and Android.


  • ONX MAPS: 3 separate apps designed for backcountry, offroading, and hunting, these apps have an incredible amount of information available. If you’re one of the above, you’ll have the option of a basic plan to an elite membership. With countless features including trail guides, trip tracking, downloadable for offline use, interactive maps, and a campsite finding locator, this is an ideal companion so take a look at all 3 to pick the one right for you.
    Available for iOS and Android.


  • ALL TRAILS: Arguably the best app for hiking trails from beginners to experts, the app will find the best hiking trails in the area of your choosing. From casual strolls to summiting mountains, it can show you running trails, dog-friendly adventures, wheelchair-accessible paths, and both road and mountain biking routes. Subscription is a yearly $29.99.
    Available for iOS and Android.


  • CAIRN: Cairn is designed to bring you safely home after your adventure. Share your outdoor trip plans, find cell coverage on the route, live share your position with loved ones, calculate your ETA, and more! Costing $4.99/month for a premium member or $26.99 if you subscribe to a yearly subscription, it is better to be safe than sorry.
    Available for iOS and Android.


  • AMERICAN RED CROSS: This first aid app will help prepare you for most emergencies. This free app includes expert advice for common injuries and emergencies, videos, interactive quizzes, and simple step-by-steps to make everything easy for you. Available in Spanish and English, this app can be downloaded for iOS and Android!


To ensure you’re fully prepared for your Big Bend experience, reach out to me here and we’ll do our best to answer any questions and we look forward to welcoming you.

– Greg