Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Take A Hike: 7 Great Social Media Tools for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Any hiker will tell you: there’s nothing better than reaching the summit of a mountaintop, after hours of maneuvering treacherous terrain and, in some cases, braving inclement weather conditions. The crisp air, the breathtaking view, the indescribable feeling of triumph—these are things that simply cannot be replicated online. But that doesn’t mean you need to unplug to gear up for a serious hike. Social-media integrated sites and tools can be incredibly useful hiking companions, whether it’s an app for knot-tying, trail-blazing, or a social network for hikers. Here are our favorite social media spots for serious hiking enthusiasts:

1. All Trails: is a great resource for hikers. Sponsored by National Geographic, it is one of the most popular digital networks for hiking and outdoors enthusiasts. You can find tons of resources on outdoors activities—from snowboarding and skiing, to mountain biking and hiking. You’ll also find an invaluable database of trails and local events, and you can track your activity metrics or keep a “trail journal” to document your trip. Best of all, the site boasts an iPhone app, so that you can access these resources when you need them most.

2. Social Hiking: This spot is a must for anyone who loves social media and the art of active hiking. Social Hiking provides a platform for users to share their hiking adventures in real time on the web. The site syncs up with your social media channels, including Twitter, Flickr, Qik, and Facebook, so that others can share your “outdoors progress live.

3. Knots, Splices and Ropework iPhone app: When you’re hiking, a knot instruction guide can come in pretty handy. This iPhone app gives you access to tons of knots and splices, and provides concise directions so you can replicate them when you need a really good knot on the go.

4. Lightweight Outdoors: Everyone’s favorite outdoor blogger, Phil Turner, is an invaluable social media resource to count on when gearing up for a hike. The freelance outdoor writer lends plenty of great hiking tips and insight on his blog, Lightweight Outdoors. Whether it’s a rundown of his latest trip to Arran, or a review of a new outdoor-themed DVD, outdoor enthusiasts are sure to learn a great deal by keeping an eye on his site.

5. This Hiking Trail: This Hiking Trail is a great site for hikers everywhere. Based on your location, it identifies local hikes in your area and highlights hikes of interest. You can also search for hikes with special features, like those that allow dogs. Simply input your zip code and find the best local hikes your neck of the woods has to offer. The site is also integrated with several social networks, so you can share your favorite hikes across the web.

6. Trails: This “intuitive GPX mapping” iPhone app lets you track your hiking route via GPS–it also provides topographical views so that you can gauge the terrain before you embark on your trek. Great for geotagging and geocoding, this site enables users to share trips and tracks via Google Earth.

7. American Hiking Society: The American Hiking Society’s webpage is a catch-all for hiking resources. The site features hiking news, current events, featured trips, programs and much more. You can find volunteer opportunities, hiker supplies, and plenty of ways to donate to environmental preservation organizations. And the AHS is very active on social media channels—just check out their Facebook and Twitter accounts for even more outdoor insight.

This post originally appeared at the social news site Social Web Daily.

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  1. I need to get that Knot Instruction App in case I take up kidnapping!

  2. I use some of these but some I've never heard of! Pinning to remember for later!

  3. When I was big into hiking it way before the Internet. So I used to buy the Appalachian Mountain Club's Guide To The White Mountains Of New Hampshire. It's been published for, like, close to 100 years or something. So I went through a few editions, bought some updates since and found some old editions in used bookstores along the way. I have maybe 10 or 11 editions. Some of my favorite books.

  4. These could be some great pre-hike resources, but I hate to count on anything internet-based on a hike since you never know what kind of signal you'll have.

  5. Great list! I love hiking, it's a nice break from climbing when the kiddos and I want to get outside. I just downloaded the All Trails app, it looks like s good one :)


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