With 2016 finally coming to a close, there’s one thing everyone seems to agree on: We can’t wait for the new year. The start of a fresh calendar also cues a new list of goals—including new places on your must-go travel bucket list.
So you booked your plane ticket, you packed your gear, and you arrived ready to take on the mountain, slope or terrain, but how do you find where those hidden gems, and off the beaten path (literally) hot spots? Sure, you can get the top tourist-recommended running and biking paths, but when you’re looking to get your adventure on like a local, it can be tough to filter through the hyped up spots to find the paths, trails, and scenic overlooks that really take your breath away.
That’s why REI, the brand that’s always encouraging you to #OptOutside, is revealing their recently acquired apps (eight in total) that aim to help you with all that and more. You’ll be able to knock off some big biggest #bucketlist travel dreams in 2017. And rather than have everything housed in one app—and clog up your data storage like whoa—REI decided to filter each activity into a separate app, so if you’re obsessed with skiing, but not so much into trail running, you can pick and choose which adventure apps to download.
While all of the apps seem pretty rad, three of them really stand out. Check ’em out below, then go ahead and start downloading like crazy because, oh yeah, did we mention they’re all free?!
Hiking Project App
Best for: Hiking
You already know about which national parks you should visit, but what about the lesser-known local trails that have Insta-worthy views and fewer crowds? That’s what you’ll find on this app. It churns out extensive guides for trails across the country, all of which have been added and reviewed by pro hikers and weekend warriors alike. (PS: You’ll be even more inspired to hit the trails after checking out these two women who are changing the face of the hiking industry.) You’ll have GPS-based route info, elevation profiles, photos (if you’re more of a visual learner), and interactive maps juuust in case you get lost. Oh, and since we know service can be tricky once you’re deep into the trail, there’s also the ability to download hikes so they work offline.
Powder Project App
Best for: Skiing and snowboarding
Whether you’re visiting a well maintained snowy skiing destination or exploring the back country, this app will show you the ski lines worth visiting. And while, yeah, it’s more fun to hit the slopes with friends, it’s NBD if you go solo—the app gives GPS route info, elevation profiles, interactive maps, and even ascent and descent stats. Basically, you have everything you need to find the freshest powder in town. (Heads up: These are the right exercises to prep your body for winter sports.)
Mountain Project App
Best for: Rock climbing
Rock climbing indoors is pretty badass in and of itself, but doing it in the great outdoors is a serious #bucketlist goal that can lend itself to some awe-inspiring views. (Here are 5 strength exercises for rock climbing newbies to help get you started.) Download this app to find out where exactly to find those cliffs with a view and what time of day you should go. It’s also where you’ll find the country’s largest database of routes (there are 110,000 and counting), so you can search by state and then download the info you need for the specific area you’re itching to climb. The weekly data updates keep you informed on the changing terrain of a particular route, and you can even download high-res images to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Download all the data you need for each route, so you can access it anytime, anywhere—no cell reception required.
Click here to submit story ideas.