Gaia GPS vs. Alltrails: A Detailed Comparison

About Gaia GPS vs. Alltrails, Although hiking is one of the best ways to disengage from the world and explore nature, you can get lost if you don’t have navigation tools.

And while physical maps can work, at times, you need tech to simplify the work, which is where hiking apps come in. Hiking apps help you monitor tracking stats, spot new trails, and link with other hikers.

The apps do more than that; we will compare Gaia GPS vs. Alltrails to see which app is better. Take a look!

Table of Contents

Gaia GPS

Gaia GPS is a fully featured hiking app that allows you to discover new trails, record your route, save performance & hike stats, take pictures, download maps, etc.

The Gaia GPS app home page

The Gaia GPS app home page

Additionally, it gives you a map as a base layer on which you can add overlays like saved hikes, routes, public tracks, waypoint labels, and areas.

Although the app’s free version has limited features, it is sufficient for day hikes because it contains all the route planning tools and records all activities. Some include viewing topographic & satellite maps while tracking your trek using cell service and turn-by-turn routing with voice navigation.

Gaia GPS map overlays

Gaia GPS map overlays

Gaia Premium Version

But the paid version is the best for pro hikers and backpackers because it unlocks premium features.

For instance, it allows offline navigation, a crucial feature for navigating and staying on the trail without having cell service. Remember, loading maps requires cell reception, but GPS operates independently off the internet. So you can navigate deep off the beaten track with offline maps.

And the pro version gives you hundreds of maps, with the ability to create custom maps. But more importantly, you get accurate weather and terrain data to help you plan the hike.

The app has some experimental features still in development, which you can access and use to give feedback for improvements for the final release. These include 3D map rendering (when tilting the map) and globe projection at low zooms.

Gaia GPS experimental features

Gaia GPS experimental features


Alltrails is more popular than Gaia GPS because it has an additional social media feature. While both are hiking apps, Alltrails features a community tab that lets you connect with friends by following others and getting followers.

The Alltrails community feature

The Alltrails community feature

This connection creates a social feed for sharing trails and experiences with 45 million like-minded outdoor enthusiasts. Additionally, the app enables you to invite friends from your contacts or other social media platforms.

Alltrails promises to plant two trees for every app download and sign-up from your referral. And so far, they have planted 10,000 trees (and counting).

The Alltrails sharing feature

The Alltrails sharing feature

Back to the hiking trails, the app has an explore option where you can search by city, park, or hiking trail. You can see how far the treks are from your location or filter the results using the following factors.

  • Activity
  • Difficulty
  • Length
  • Suitability (dog-friendly, kid-friendly, etc.)
  • Newly added
  • Closest
  • Best match
  • Most popular
  • Elevation gain
  • Attractions (waterfalls, lakes, etc.)
  • Route type
  • Trail rating
The Alltrails explore/search page with the filters option next to the search bar

The Alltrails explore/search page with the filters option next to the search bar.

These factors help narrow down the results from over 400,000 trail guides globally to suit your hiking preferences.

Lastly, there’s a navigation feature that shows all trails, topography (US only), terrain, road, OCM, OSM, world park, and satellite maps. And you can lay weather, light pollution, air quality, and pollen details above the route map canvas.

The Alltrails map type and map details

The Alltrails map type and map details

Alltrails Premium Version

Like Gaia GPS, Alltrails has a free version with limited features. So you’ll get all the app’s features with the premium membership. The features include map downloading for offline access, map printing for backup in case your mobile devices run out of power, 3D trail maps, alerts when making wrong turns, and ad-free use.

Gaia GPS vs. Alltrails

The two apps have several similarities, such as the ability to download offline maps. But they are different in many ways, and here’s their comparison.

Free vs. Premium

Gaia GPS has one free plan and two premium packages. The free plan only unlocks basic maps, activity recording, and route creation.

On the other hand, the premium features include over 300 maps with offline use and weather & terrain features. This plan costs $3.33 monthly or $39.99 annually.

The third premium plan costs $3.74 monthly or $55.99 annually ($44.99 for the first year). It includes Outside+ to the premium plan, bringing on board the following additional features.

  • The Trailforks Pro GPS app (worth $36)
  • Complete digital access to the Outside Network’s 15 publications
  • Expert-led online courses on Outside Learn
  • Premium access to award-winning shows, live TV, and films on Outside Watch
  • Other Outside Network benefits

Alltrails has a two-tier pricing mechanism with free and Alltrails+ plans. The free plan only gives you access to navigation tools, an extensive list of trails, and list creation.

The premium version (Alltrails+) costs only $2.50 monthly or $29.99 annually and gives you access to all the app features listed earlier.

And a portion of the Alltrails+ premium plan (1%) goes towards protecting the wild places and favorite trails we cherish.

One more thing. Gaia GPS premium offers a one-month free trial, while Alltrails+ comes with a 7-day trial period.


Another vital difference between the two apps is their trail-search feature. Alltrails wins in this category because it enables you to filter trails using more options, giving you a curated trail list with all your preferences.

Gaia GPS is not that bad because it only enables you to filter using the following features.

  • Difficulty
  • Activity (hiking or offroading)
  • Hike length
  • Elevation gain
  • Minimum rating
Gaia GPS filters

The Gaia GPS filters

Gaia GPS vs. Alltrails: Which Is Better?

Both apps are at the same level for the free version, but Alltrails has an edge due to its social media feature for connecting with other hikers in your area and extensive search filters.

With the premium options, Alltrails beats Gaia GPS because it shows more than just weather and terrain features. It gives air quality, pollen, and light pollution details, plus eight map types.

Additionally, it has a Lifeline feature that informs your friends and loved ones when you are out on the trails. You only need to add these safety contacts to the app for them to see your location as you hike.

The Alltrails app Lifeline feature

The Alltrails app Lifeline feature

And Alltrails has a cheaper subscription plan (although with a shorter trial period).

But remember, Gaia GPS has voice navigation and a third premium plan. Although expensive, the Outside+ package gives you access to dozens of content for entertainment and to fuel all your adventures.

Plus, this plan gives you access to another hiking app (Trailforks Pro GPS). So you might get more features than Alltrails but from different sources. Therefore, take some time to analyze this additional app to find out if it is worth investing in the Outside+ plan. If not, stick to Alltrails.

Wrap Up

As you can see, these two hiking apps enhance your trekking experience, and we recommend using the free version for day hiking in areas with the cell network coverage.

However, subscribe to a premium plan if you want to go deep in the trails and camp in the dark. Both apps are superb, but Alltrails is slightly better. But you can try them for free using their trial periods to see which is better.

That’s it for now! Contact us if you found this comparison insightful or have used the apps during your treks. We want to hear about your experience.

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