There is no shortage of outdoor recreation mapping applications these days. Apps like All Trails, Trailforks, Hiking Project, and MTB Project are all exceptionally popular and available at the tip of your fingers, or thumbs. They can be an excellent resource for locating and identifying trails to hike and explore, especially in areas you aren’t familiar with.
In Southern Utah, officials are warning against becoming overly reliant on your phone and apps. According to a report from ABC 4, 45 out of 160 search and rescue calls in Zion National Park and Washington County can be chalked up to hikers being unprepared or getting lost. While these apps can be helpful in finding the trailhead, it is very easy for hikers to get in over their heads. Not having a full understanding of a realistic time commitment of a certain hike or not packing enough food or extra clothes can become problematic very quickly.
This is a great reminder that these activities can get dangerous quickly. Starting a long hike too late in the day or not understanding how much the temperature swings in the desert can turn scary very quickly. Go easy on those phone apps, remember, there are thousands of good ol’ paper guidebooks available that provide excellent route details and tips.
Images from: Zion National Park Facebook Page