Need a new place to walk? Try this trail-finding trick with Google Maps


By Emily Woodbury

What’s one good thing that’s come out of quarantine for me, an avid hiker? I’ve found dozens of trails close to home that I never knew about! I thought I had walked every trail within a walk or short drive from my apartment, but boy, was I wrong. So, other than looking up “trails near Seattle” repeatedly on Google, I found a new, easier trick.

You’ll need Google Maps on your phone (it’s an app for both Apple and Android) for this. If you don’t feel like downloading the app (which I recommend you do for instances when you’re not at home near a computer) you can go to

Once you have the app or are on the website, all you have to do to find nearby walking trails is type “trail” into the search bar. Look at that! Do you see all those trails that just showed up around you? Amazing, huh?

That’s a screenshot of my phone from the Seattle area. But, when you zoom in even closer to an area near your home, you’ll see more trails pop up – like in the photo below.

If you want more information about any of the trails or parks listed, simply tap the little red pin and more information will pop up. A tip: Look at the user photos to see what the trails look like. If you’re looking for a flat, paved trail, it’s good to check the photos first to make sure you’re not getting a hilly wooded dirt trail. And vice versa.

And, lastly, once you’re on the trail (or before, to plan out your route), take out your phone, open the Google Maps app, and zoom way in to the trail’s location. You’ll see the trail outlined in a green dotted line. You can plan out your route, and find an easy way back to your car/trailhead.

And there you have it! Now, go for a walk! It’ll do ya good, I promise. (I’m headed out for mine in about 20 minutes.)


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Scott Gitlin
11 months ago

Thanks for the info!

Mike & Cathi Stark
11 months ago

Very Cool, Thanks. We just landed in Bakersfield CA and I used this app to find a bike trail, which also happens to have a Geocache nearby. Win-Win-Win Trying not to come out of this year as a hunk although I probably won’t make hunk.

11 months ago

Cool trick! Thanx

1 year ago

Great use of maps!

Suellen Jeffrey
1 year ago

This is fantastic! Thanks

pauline klein
1 year ago

Very good information, thanks.

1 year ago

You can use that app anywhere. If you are not familiar with the area, before setting out, mark the area where you leave your vehicle as “home” on your phone. If you get lost you can reset your phone and use GOOGLE MAPS to find the trail back to your vehicle.

Karen Bates
1 year ago

Thanks Emily! I walk every day but usually the same route in my tiny neighborhood. It will be good to find some new territory!

Calvin Rittenhouse
1 year ago

Thank you! I use Google Maps daily, but I never thought of that.

Nancy R Warfield
1 year ago

this is amazing! thanks a million

John R Crawford
1 year ago

Just another reason I decided to subscribe with a monthly contribution, because of great information like this you won’t get anywhere else.

Sally Gilbert
1 year ago

awesome – thanks so much for the tip!!

1 year ago

What a cool trick. Thanks Emily for sharing this. It’s will be particularly useful while traveling. Peace and love, stay safe…………………….

1 year ago

Nice, thanks for sharing, will try out as soon as I finish my morning coffee and RV newsletter. I used the paid All Trails app, but am excited to look at Google.

Steve Kniceley
1 year ago


Thomas Janzen
1 year ago

That’s very valuable information! I use a few paid apps that don’t add much more value to what Google Maps provides for free. Thanks!

1 year ago

This is wonderful, thank you!

michael budig
1 year ago

Very useful tip. Thanks

Curt Passafume Jr
1 year ago

Great tip about an app that we use all the time but never realized this feature. Will also come in handy for those of us who are regular geocachers and need to find access trails once Google gets us “close.” Appreciate the heads up and I am picking a new trail today. Fresh air and movement solves many a woe.

Larry H Lee
1 year ago

Just tried it out on Google Maps app and it works great. Thanks!