Best GPS Map Software for Hiking Routes

Any suggestions? I’ve been using ViewRanger, but the number of traced routes is limited. I’ve tried some others, but that’s the best I found so far and it’s what I use to map my own hikes.
I’m specifically looking for apps that lets users share their routes to a searchable database that others can follow. ViewRanger does all that and you can rearrange other’s routes for your own use, but not being an expert, I’d prefer to go where I know someone has been before.
There are Chinese sites that give plottings of hiking clubs and I suppose I could type all the coordinates in and make a general route, but I like a good trail. And not typing.

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Good question.

I wonder what this experienced hiker used if anything. Or do GPS maps even work when you are up in the mountains?

Yes, perfectly. You just have to download the map and the route and your device tracks your location by GPS, GLONASS, cell towers if any are near. That’s how ViewRanger works. You can use Google Maps that way as well, but they don’t have many off road paths. Of course, paper maps and a compass are always important to have, but it’s nice to have a map with a “you are here” on it.

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I use viewranger but I didn’t know that I could share routes or tracks (i use a regular, free account). The app can’t have all the trails up to date because it’s impossible.

I’ve been using Orux Maps in Taiwan. Never used the GPS function, but there is one.

Only problem I ran into was, some of the trails indicated on the maps turned out to be nothing more than a mouse road running under a sea of ferns, spiky roots and spider webs. But again in Taiwan only a handful of trails are maintained; best idea is to get a trail suggestion online, and then use the maps to orient yourself.


For me, Locus Maps with the map download for Taiwan from OpenAndroMaps so that it works fully offline. Over the past few years I’ve also acquired a little collection of GPX files for interesting routes, and sometimes seek those online if I’m planning to visit a new area.

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I remember finding those before. Where do you get them?

They’re invaluable, aren’t they? They’re all over the place: trail race organisers, Facebook groups, biji, hiking blogs, random Google drive folders. I just download the ones I use, since they’re quite unsearchable without their accompanying blog.

If you like GPX files and have a desktop/laptop computer, see also: gpsprune. Handy tool to edit them.

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Thanks for everyone who chimed in, it pointed me in the right direction. I think it’s best to use a GPS tracking app designed for hiking and with good maps that can be used offline.
I’m going to stick with ViewRanger because I like their default landscape map, it’s based off of Open Street Maps data so there are probably similar options, and you can switch between Google streets, Satellite and topo maps.
It has a several user-created routes around Taiwan which can be downloaded and edited on the site or on the app.
A similar option is AllTrails. It also has a website with user-created routes, a few in Taiwan.
There’s also Locus Maps, though I’m not certain about the map options, and all route data needs to be loaded from external sources. Apparently, it talks to you.
Those are the best English apps I’ve found, and there are no doubt others.

Routes can be downloaded in GPX format and loaded on all three of the above. @fifieldt gives some sources. GPX routes from ViewRanger or AllTrails can be downloaded and used in any other app. More English sources are:

The best source I’ve found is Hiking Biji, which has an app and website. It appears to have the largest number of GPX data files for Taiwan. There’s an incredible amount of data there and I’d say it covers everything, though I don’t see a particular route in Wulai I used to do, I hope it hasn’t washed away because I want to find it again. It was harrowing.
Their app doesn’t seem much better than the English ones except for being able to load GPX files directly, and I don’t care for their map selection. They have a map from 1927 if you want to see where your at looked like under the Japanese. Some trails haven’t changed.
If you don’t speak, Chinese the best bet is to download their GPX files and load them into another app. As far as I can tell, you can’t search see an overview of available routes on an interactive maps (ViewRanger and AllTrails has this) but you can search by place name and get a list of GPX routes that include this, and there are suggested routes nearby.
The Android app (iOS available):

GPX list:

There’s other info there if you read Chinese.

Some English hiking blogs:
Older data, contains GPX files, weirdly has a link to my old blog:

Gives descriptions of trails with lots of pictures, no GPX but you can see the routes on a Google map.

Richard Saunders’s old site. Many of us will remember him from Taipei Day Trips 1 & 2 that we got at Caves. Those are out of date but he’s got most of the information with some updates at his blog. Has descriptions and Google Maps but no GPX as far as I can tell. It’s offline at the moment, so here’s the original and Way Back archive (which breaks a lot of it):

ViewRanger and Biji maps are the winners for me in this two day deep dive. Anyone else got ideas?


Not exactly what you’re asking, but I haven’t seen follow xiaofei mentioned yet. Mostly a map of hot springs and waterfalls, advantage is that it can automatically overlay on your maps app if you want.

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I’m a big fan of Oruxmaps too. Know where to get good maps for offline?

I remember I was quickly able to find a map of Taiwan and of Japan through google. Don’t remember where it was though.

Most of those apps, the good ones anyway, are able to download maps for offline use. They usually have a map based on Open Maps that has hiking trails and cycling routes.

Wow, that’s a long write up. I guess I’ll have to read it!

That’s a lot of info.