The Florida Trail Guide is also an app! Teaming up with Atlas Guides – who produce apps for the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Colorado Trail, John Muir Trail, and more – we’ve taken the contents of our guide, bulked it up with details that won’t fit in a book, presented it on a accurate map of the Florida Trail, and made it an interactive experience for planning your hikes.
During the first quarter of 2017, we gathered hundreds of new waypoints while hiking across the Florida Panhandle, which have now greatly expanded the detail for hikers using the Panhandle West, Panhandle East, and Big Bend sections.
At the same time, the programming wizards at Atlas Guides launched new features for all of their apps, including the ability for you to record your own GPS track of your hike right inside the app as you hike and export it for your personal use. You can also keep personal notes on waypoints in addition to posting public notes for other hikers to see. A new “Go To” button lets you zoom right in to a specific mile marker along the trail, so when a social media post mentions “Nice swimming hole at mile 913!” you can zoom in to see what it is. And for those who want friends and family to follow along on your adventures, the app can share your location with them as well.
Take a peek under the hood
Scroll through these screenshots to see some of what the app can do.
More than a Guide
What makes this stand apart from “just a guide?”
- Choose from a map-based or data book interface, or use both!
- Use maps offline or online.
- Click-to-dial phone numbers for trail services.
- Automatic calculation of distance between next and previous waypoints, water sources, and campsites.
- Reverse Trail Direction switch for southbound mileage calculations.
- Built-in GPS function shows where you are in relation to the trail.
- Share your current location while on the trail with friends and family via text or email.
- Draw your own route based on where you take a hike, and share that GPS track with friends.
Using wifi or 4G/5G, you have access to even more features:
- Hyperlinks let you connect to crucial information like requesting a permit, checking flood gauges along rivers, checking hunting season dates, and booking campsites.
- Leave notes in a virtual Trail Register that other hikers using the app can see, and that trail maintainers or FTA staff can respond to.
- Share photos from your own hike.
- Share your location on Facebook or Twitter, or simply into your Photos.
- Check on Trail Conditions and leave notes of your own about them.
- Check on News Bulletins from land managers, the FTA, and us.
Oh, and the app has elevation profiles, too. We can all have a laugh with that.
Best of all? ACCURATE mileage. All mileage in the 2016 edition of the app is based on the actual GPS tracks collected to make the app, so waypoints are exactly where they should be. This means, of course, that the app is now out of synch with our Florida Trail Guide, second edition, but the third edition of the guide (to be released October 2017) will be based on the mileage calculations of the app.
Grab yours now
The app itself is free, and comes pre-loaded with the Blackwater section of the Florida Trail (45.4 miles) so you can try out all the features. Other sections vary in price from $2.99 to $6.99, or you can buy the full “thru-hiker” set for $34.99. Loops and side trails are also marked on the maps, so you can also plan overnight and multi-day loops. Sections include:
SOUTH FLORIDA: Big Cypress, Seminole, and Okeechobee West, from Oasis Visitor Center to Okee-tantie. 150.7 miles. Also includes Okeechobee East, the eastern route around Lake Okeechobee, which can be used in lieu of Okeechobee West. 56.5 miles.
OCEAN-TO-LAKE: Side trail connecting from Okeechobee East to the Atlantic Ocean, a great backpacking trip for Southeast Florida. 61.0 miles.
CENTRAL FLORIDA: Kissimmee and Orlando sections, from Okee-tantie north to Clearwater Lake in the Ocala National Forest. Includes loops at Bull Creek and Tosohatchee. 257.7 miles.
CENTRAL FLORIDA WEST: Also known as the Western Corridor. Roadwalk from Three Lakes to Green Swamp, Green Swamp East & West (includes Bigfoot BSA camp and other loops), Richloam, Croom, Citrus (including loops), Withlacoochee State Trail, Cross Florida Greenway, and Ocala West. 241.0 miles.
OCALA NORTHEAST: Includes the Ocala and Northeast Florida sections, from Clearwater Lake north to Deep Creek trailhead at the north end of Osceola National Forest. 195.1 miles.
SUWANNEE BIG BEND: Includes the Suwannee River section, private timberlands, Aucilla, and St. Marks NWR. 191.8 miles.
EASTERN PANHANDLE: Includes the Apalachicola National Forest, Altha Trail, Econfina, Pine Log, Nokuse, and connecting roadwalks. 175.7 miles.
WESTERN PANHANDLE: Includes Eglin Air Force Base, Yellow River Ravines, and Seashore. 130.5 miles.