Mount Antero Spencer McKee

A hiker heads down a road beneath the summit of Mount Antero.

Photo Credit: Spencer McKee

Yes, there's an undeniable beauty that can come with disconnecting completely from digital technology and entering a natural space. However, if one isn't looking for that type of disconnected experience, there are several awesome smartphone applications that can help enhance time spent outdoors. Here's a look at a few essential applications that are great for those bagging fourteeners around Colorado.

1. The 14ers.com App

This should be obvious – if a hiker is climbing fourteeners in Colorado, they should download the 14ers.com application. It's a mobile version of the best fourteener resource available and it allows users to download maps and photos directly to their phone so that they're accessible without cell service.

2. PeakVisor

This handy application is a great resource for identifying peaks. Whether it's on the approach or from the summit, PeakVisor lets users align previously downloaded ridges with their current view, indicating which peak is which, along with other helpful information.

3. SkyGuide

A lot of fourteener climbs start before the sun rises. Use this application to get information about stars, planets, and constellations spotted above.

4. Instagram

While Instagram can be a great application for sharing photos after the fact, it can also be a great resource for planning a hike. By using the geotag feature, Instagram users are able to connect with other users that may have been on a certain high-elevation peak recently, then able to ask about conditions that may be present on the mountain. Is there snow on the trail? Will traction be needed? Finding answers is as simple as asking around and the high user number on Instagram makes it more likely to get more recent information.

5. AllTrails

Another resource for trail research, one great feature of AllTrails is that it makes previous recordings of hikers along a route easy to find. This can help clear up any discrepancy in expected distance and it allows users to see how long the route took other hikers – though assuming speed can be matched is a dangerous game. AllTrails is also a great spot to find trail conditions on some of the more popular peaks.

6. Strava

A great application for hike tracking, Strava can be used to monitor distance and speed. Keep in mind that this app can be a drain on a phone's battery, so consider bringing along a portable battery to keep it running. Bonus points if the portable battery can be solar-charged.

Director of Content and Operations

Spencer McKee manages the OutThere Colorado digital publication as the Director of Content and Operations. In his spare time, Spencer loves to rock climb, trail run, and mountain bike. Follow along with his adventures on Instagram at @spence.outside

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