Even though the National Park Service turns 100 this year, America’s natural wonders are certainly not feeling the onset of old age. The parks saw more than 307 million) recreational visits last year, a noticeable increase of more than 50 million in the past 20 years alone.
More visitors may be on the way in coming years too, as outdoor outfitter REI has created an app that makes the parks more accessible, more navigable and as enticing as ever. The app, called the REI Co-op Guide to the National Parks features trail maps, recommended hikes and even offline GPS tracking—thus removing the horror film-induced anxiety from even the most isolated of journeys.
The app currently only includes information on a select number of National Parks— Arches, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Mount Rainier, Point Reyes, Rocky Mountain and Zion—but REI is asking its users to help out in adding the rest. Interested users can track their own trails and hikes with the Hiking Project app, which contributes to REI’s ultimate goal of mapping “every single trail in every National Park.”
You can currently download the application for free, and then use its crowd-sourced features to celebrate the National Parks’ centennial in style—by taking checking out the routes, sights and campsites recommended by other users. REI has even included difficulty rankings for many heights, including the vertical profile and overall height and distance of the journey.
For the less adventurous park fanatic, the program includes photos from each destination as well, giving you the option to live vicariously through thrill-seeking hikers without even having to take the journey yourself.