Website of the week: Hiking Project



My “go to” planning tools are a mix of CalTopo and Gaia.  With both of these tools, and some other methods,  I can plan out routes, look at alternate ideas, and dream up new hikes that I can’t wait to tackle.

However, not everyone wants to do this method of finding trip ideas.  With our increasingly busy lives, people want ready-made routes with good logistic info, maps, permit info, and GPX points to download.  People want the popular hikes in a given area and the info to go with them. And typically day hikes versus backpacking routes.

AllTrails is the popular website and app for this type of pursuit. But it costs money.

Enter the Hiking Project. A resource which works under the umbrella of REI.

Very similar to AllTrails. but FREE. And, as with AllTrails,  Hiking Project even has an app available for download.

You get some basic maps, driving directions, route info, any info about red tape or permits, difficulty level, and even the weather. You can even download the GPX info for your mapping software of choice.

I see the primary use of this website falling into three categories:

  • People who want to know available hikes when traveling into an area. Some in-depth research is not always feasible.
  • People like some of my friends with families, busy jobs, and other obligations. The time bank funds are often thin. Having four or five hikes available with easy planning is clutch.
  • People new to the outdoors. The skill set to research hikes is not quite there yet.

Is this website and app perfect? Of course not. The hikes are mainly (not always) skewed to day hikes. And by its nature, Hiking Project is set up not for trip planning, but boilerplate “do this hike” type info.

But if you want to get some ideas and have some of the heavy lifting of the planning done for you, you could do far worse than Hiking Project. 

The price is right, the database of trip ideas grows each day, and as more people make use of this website and app, the first-hand reports become more useful.

Another tool to have in the trip planning kit. Be it a seasoned traveler looking for trip ideas, a busy parent who needs an appropriate family hike and does not have time to plan, or the person new to the outdoors and appreciates the detailed and easy to access info.

Check out Hiking Project. It is a resource that just might work for you.

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5 years ago

Just signed up. Using it from the jump. This is a great ass free site.

Jake Zehnder
Jake Zehnder
5 years ago

Longtime reader, first time commenter 😉 I have used AllTrails for several years and found it to have more content than Hiking Project. I think the rock climbing version of the app, Mountain Project, is far superior to the hiking one in my opinion. Both the hiking sites you mentioned have a phone app. The AllTrails app is nice but I agree it is skewed to the “do this hike” audience. AllTrails is free in basic mode, but if you want access to record your hikes, download offline maps, real time weather, plan a trip, or access certain topos then… Read more »

5 years ago

Been using AllTrails for a while now, but think I’m done with it. The thing that really grinds me about AllTrails is that they still track and give others access to users personal data, even when you pay for the “Pro” account. I expect this from free apps and websites, but payed services? Their privacy policy is both revealing and obscure at the same time. Definitely double dipping by collecting all kinds of info for marketing purposes. It’s probably their primary revenue generator. At least Gaia lets you opt out of Google analytics tracking. Their privacy policy is a bit… Read more »