How to find great walks away from hiking hot spots

Fancy a walk this summer while avoiding the local holiday crowds? Get komoot and find route inspiration in places under the radar, wherever it may be for you?

From the Pentlands to Pembrokeshire, the Kent coast to Speyside, no matter what part of the country you live in, there are some great walks to be had. If you consider walking to be about attitude, you’ll never be limited to hiking hot spots.

And that means you don’t have to queue all day in the “walking trail dance” while you negotiate who gets priority on a busy section of trail.

At komoot, our goal is to make adventure accessible to everyone, wherever you are. That’s why we make it easy to find, plan and share adventures for everyone, even in places that aren’t generally considered walking hotspots. And in a year when travel always seems uncertain and local walking destinations are likely to be crowded, there has never been a better opportunity to embrace walks under the radar and discover pockets of gems from hidden walks away from the summer crowds.

At its heart, komoot is a route planner that makes it easy and enjoyable to design hiking routes to suit your needs. This is due to the sport-specific routing and detailed surface type and elevation profiles that give you a breakdown of every inch of your route.

But what about these hidden gems? There are several ways to find them on komoot, depending on how you want to be involved.

For the light planner, Komoot collections view an organized list of tours in a specific area – Hike around Cambridge, Hike in Epping Forest, Hike around Winchcombe. Click on it and you’ll find a list of hyper-local routes that can inspire your next ride… just about anywhere! You will find these collections on www.komoot.com/discover/hiking-trails

You can find more personalized walking ideas using Komoot Tour Recommendations. Enter your sport, location, and fitness level (so that the results include tours that have accurate time estimates), and komoot will show you routes that have already been driven in your area. You can then adapt the itinerary to your needs.

When you open the route planner on komoot, you will notice little red dots scattered around the map. These represent Community highlights – recommendations from the local walking community on anything they deem relevant – the most beautiful place for a picnic break, a section of trail that crosses a bird sanctuary, or maybe even an obscure little out -licence that sells surprisingly amazing pork pies. This insider information is the thing that tells of a “pretty cool” walk to a “good day out”. Whether planning from scratch or adapting an existing tour, you can incorporate these highlights into your itinerary (do so by clicking on them and literally selecting “include on itinerary”), you will be guaranteed a beautiful walk, wherever you are.

You can share your walks and alternative areas with Hiking in the countryside and Track by tagging (or inviting) the profiles of your completed visits to komoot. You can add photos and a short description to highlight some of the local must-sees.

Head straight to the Hiking in the countryside profile here and the Track profile here.

Don’t believe us? Here’s what four real readers have to say about the komoot app after a month of intensive testing.

Photo: Tom Bailey

What did you like the most about the app?

Ronnie – The ease of adding tracks from Strava / Garmin Connect. The ability to add photos and create collections.

Sarah – A few clicks and my route was planned! After planning it, it gave me the ‘difficulty level’ of the route and I really liked this feature as it would help me plan walks to suit my level of fitness. Loved that you can set your fitness level when planning a walk and adjust the time and speed accordingly – great when planning a walk with others. I love to take photos on my walks so the camera function was god. While having my cup of tea with my feet raised watching my completed walk, I found the “video camera” icon – it was a nice little bonus to seeing my “adventure story” and I can also see it. share :-).

Michelle – It’s very user-friendly and easy to follow. Personally, I like to jump right in and use the technology without prior knowledge and I really could. I also really liked the detailed weather forecast for the route.

Matthew – Easy access to nearby hiking trails with photos.

Were you aware of the area, type of path and elevation profiles in the route planner? Do you think they are useful?

Sarah – Yes, the elevation profile was excellent. Click on it and with the green line bar I could scroll to see the elevation, and the map pointer moved around the map – that was awesome.

Ronnie – Yes very helpful.

Matthew – Yes, I can see that they can be useful for anyone with mobility issues.

Michelle – Yes, all information is transparent about the application in the planning stages. The area and elevation information is very helpful as it helps you prepare the gear you would need for your hike.

Did you know about the Komoot Highlights feature? Did you find any local highlights that you weren’t aware of?

Matthieu – No, I didn’t, but I know my region very well thanks to the 2020 confinement!

Michelle – I came across the highlights in the app while exploring, I personally didn’t find any new local highlights. As far as I could see, the app already had all of the local key highlights plotted on the app. Having this feature will allow others to explore and take advantage of these local strengths. Personally I think this is a nice feature and touch. The app also lets you add local highlights which is again great for sharing with others.

Ronnie – Yes, knowledgeable but I rarely use them.

Sarah – Yes, I could see the Highlights feature in the app and was aware of all the highlights that I had encountered / seen on my walk.

Were you aware of the Tour Recommendations / Finder feature? Do you think it’s useful?

Sarah – I enjoyed looking at the recommendations for inspiration and seeing the adventures of others.

Matthieu – Yes, that’s great. I can imagine using it when I’m in a place I don’t know but would like a recommended walk.

Ronnie – Yes. I have used them on hikes abroad.

Michelle – The Tour section was a useful tool as I can see others shared their routes and highlights. This prompted me to save potential visits to the app to explore later. It’s kind of like a follow feature and I’ll take advantage of routes that have already been plotted by others. This means you can walk around without having to plan yourself if you are short on time. It also drew my attention to routes that I didn’t know existed in my area.

How does this product compare to others you have used?

Ronnie – The best on the market in my opinion.

Sarah – I thought there was everything you need in the app to go out for a walk. He planned the route easily, gave route difficulty, time, distance, walking speed and weather. I found other apps too time consuming or had to plan the route using a laptop. With this app, I planned the route using my mobile phone – perfect!

Michelle – Komoot is much more detailed than other apps I’ve used before. It gives you a better overview and allows you to plan. It has a lot of analytical features and it’s your choice whether to use them or not. It takes you comfortably from A to B.

Matthew – I have little experience with this type of mobile application. I regularly use a dedicated GPS device.

Would you use this app again?

Matthieu – Certainly. I would use this app to research new route ideas in areas I am less familiar with.

Ronnie – Yes, I use it at least once a week.

Michelle – Most definitely. I am completely converted. This will now be my go-to app because it’s so multifunctional for all the sports I participate in. It is friendly. Plus, I don’t need to carry my cell phone in my hand, I can put it in my backpack and just listen to verbal instructions for directions.

Sarah – 100% yes. Easy to use. Gives me all the important information to plan a walk. Easily create a “story” of your walk by taking photos, then creating your story to share with friends or on social media. Also while walking it gave me my walking speed.

Are there any changes you would make to the product?

Ronnie – The help feature could be easier to find / use, but overall excellent.

Sarah – No.

Matthew – No, I like the layout of the app.

Michelle – No. It already has customization options like adding photos on the go.

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