Here comes the sun! I am sure we can all agree that summer is finally here and its officially time to get onto the trails. With Saskatchewan Trails Day as well as Recreation and Parks month all June fast approaching there is no excuse to not get out into mother nature! We all know how much fun trails can be on a beautiful day in Saskatchewan. Many of us also know how disappointing it is to get lost or to travel to your favorite trail just to find out it is now too muddy, too wet or even under construction making it impossible to hike. These online websites and apps can help you to get the most out of adventure and take away some of the pains of hitting the trails. All resources on the list have the link attached or can be downloaded on the apple or android app store. Here are some of the top online resources to checkout before your next hike! Let us know if we missed any and what your favorite resource for hiking is!
- SASKATCHEWAN TRAILS ASSOCIATION DIRECTORY – The trail directory allows you to learn about new trails to experience, trail locations, difficulty, and length. Don’t know where to go, or unsure of where to start your hiking experience? The trail directory can help you get from point A to point B on your journey to experience nature on the trails. As well as having an in-depth directory of different trails, the STA directory also holds many stunning photographs of the trails and describes exactly what to expect. The STA directory is a great place to start to learn about some of the greatest local trails. You can visit the STA’s directory at: https://sasktrails.ca/trail-directory/.
- ALLTRAILS – AllTrails is one of the highest rated and used trail apps on the market. AllTrails helps people explore the outdoors with the largest collection of detailed, hand-curated trail maps as well as trail reviews and photos crowd sourced from a community of 10 million registered hikers, mountain bikers and trail runners. AllTrails has a beautiful collection of photography taken from different trails to give you a snippet of the wonders that await on whichever path you choose to navigate. This app is especially useful for providing you with a huge amount of information on all the diverse trails around Saskatchewan, it even tracks your hikes for you. AllTrails has more than your average trail website or app and has valuable resources for even the most experienced of hikers. You can download the AllTrails app or find it at: https://www.alltrails.com/.
- TOURISMSASKATCHEWAN.COM– Tourism Saskatchewan doesn’t have the most trails but has a huge selection of the best location around Saskatchewan to do various activities such as hiking, fishing, snowshoeing, cross county skiing, biking, ATVing, bird watching, picnic areas, and boat launches. Check out TourismSaskatchewan.com before your next trail, checkout reviews, and see if there are any other activities that are close by the trail. Find Tourism Saskatchewan at: https://www.tourismsaskatchewan.com/things-to-do/outdoor-activities/trails#sort=relevancy.
- TRAIL FORKS – Trail Forks is website and app built by trail enthusiasts, for trail enthusiasts. Trail Forks focuses on mountain bikers but still has a plethora of useful reports for those who prefer to walk the trails. Trail Forks is an extremely useful tool for every hiker to check before their expedition on the trails. Trail Fork is much like other trail and hiking apps, but it allows users to create reports on various dangers or problems with certain trails and things to know/avoid before going out. Trail Fork lets users know if the trails are well maintained, muddy, have problems, or even for the winter hikers, if a trail is snowed out/too icy. In depth trail analysis and information is given by the community so hikers know exactly what they are walking into. From new trails, to trail updates, to whether forecasts, Trail Forks can make sure you avoid any potential dangers. You can download the Trail Forks app or visit the website at: https://www.trailforks.com/.
- VIEW RANGER – A popular hiking app, ViewRanger helps hikers plan, navigate, record and share their outdoor adventures. It’s even used by several search and rescue teams around the world thanks to its advanced GPS navigation system. What makes View Ranger very user friendly is its compatibility with apple and Android Watch. Weather it is finding new trails, or downloading maps, or tracking your hikes, ViewRanger can help! Download the ViewRanger app on the apple of android app store, or visit the website at: https://www.viewranger.com/en-us.
- SASKHIKER.COM– SaskHiker is a Saskatchewan based community website created by hiking enthusiast Jay Brown from Saskatchewan. SaskHiker allows you to find trails, read/post blogs, and submit your favorite trails/locations to go for an adventure to. This is a strong community of passionate people who love getting out into nature. You can even find others to go on adventures with. You can visit SaskHiker at: https://www.saskhiker.com/.
- SPYGLASS- Spyglass doesn’t have much to do with trails or hiking but it can help you to find your way to where you need to go. Spyglass is an advanced compass and GPS navigation app for iPhone, iPad, iOS and Android. Spyglass comes in handy as a car, bike, boat, aircraft, vehicle or walking compass and GPS navigation to drive, cycle, sail, fly or hike off the road, in the field or woods, in the sea and in the air. For anyone who loves the outdoors, Spyglass is for you, with bountiful features, augmented reality, navigation through the stars and various other navigation tools and monitors, spyglass can guide you to wherever you desire. Download Spyglass on your favorite apple or android device on the app-store.
- GEOCACHE – For anyone who doesn’t already know what geocaching is, Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Geocache has both an app and a website to get you going on your first treasure hunt. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. Geocaches can be hidden anywhere and tend to be bountiful on various trail and provincial parks. Geocaching is a great way to get friends and family members out into nature searching for hidden treasures by adding an extra bit of excitement into your hike. Once a geocache is found, you can take one item from the container and must put one item back in. These hidden prizes are often not valuable but offer a unique way to capture and save a memory. Download the app on the app-store or visit: https://www.geocaching.com/play.
- FIRST AID BY RED CROSS – This app is on the list because it can save your life. Nobody ever expects to get injured on a leisurely hike, yet accidents still happen. First Aid by Red Cross is a key resource for any fan of trails from beginner to professional. Simple, step-by-step instructions guide you through everyday first aid scenarios. Fully integrated with 911, so you can call EMS from the app at any time. Videos and animations to help you sharpen your first aid skills. Safety tips for everything from severe winter weather to hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes, to help you prepare for emergencies. Preloaded content means you have instant access to all safety information at any time, even without reception or an Internet connection. Interactive quizzes allow you to earn badges that you can share with your friends and show off your lifesaving knowledge. First Aid can be downloaded on the apple or android app-store!
- GAIA GPS – For the more experienced and serious hikers and trail takers, Gaia GPS offers a feature rich app that can help you to navigate the most difficult of trails. Gaia GPS is an outdoor navigation app providing access to a rich catalog of maps including topographical, satellite, road, and the Nat Geo Trails Illustrated map series. As well as tracking hikes while measuring pace, distance and elevation as standard, it is also possible to download a range of offline maps for off-grid access. The app and accompanying web-based version allows for printing too. Gaia GPS can be download on the apple and android app-store!
Also, don’t forget to like and follow the Saskatchewan Trails Association on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more information on everything from new trails to safety tips and tricks! June is Recreation and Parks month and with Saskatchewan trails day fast approaching, we will once again be hosting a month-long photo contest. If you are out on the trails, snap some pictures and share them with us on our social media with the #SaskTrailsPhotoContest as many times as you like and be entered to win a price package valued at $200! Have fun, be safe, and keep on exploring beautiful Saskatchewan!