Monday, December 5, 2022


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


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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Michael Galvin
1 year ago

You can also search Google Maps for “bike trails”

1 year ago

Does anyone know if it is possible to download a trail from Google Maps to a Garmin device, specifically a handheld Garmin GPS device?

Also, in addition to All Trails, Rails to Trails has a good APP that shows all the abandoned rail lines that have been converted to trails. The APP is called TrailLink.

1 year ago

Maps is a powerful tool. When you get to a new campsite, it really helps to sit down and pull up the nearest town. You can quickly get oriented, ask where the groceries are, parks, pools, post offices, etc. As you zoom in you can often find the interesting shopping districts, places to get things repaired. Make a point to notice the ‘main drag’ highways the town is organized around. Makes it easy to go out and explore with confidence.

Sometimes its good to pull up Trip Advisor for Things to Do, then see where those things are located and plan a day trip.

I meet a lot of people traveling who are chained to whatever their phone tells them, to get from point A to point B, but they’re not seeing the whole picture or freely exploring. Kind of sad.

The only downsides to Maps: 1. frequently has old data and errors. 2. is not good for finding propane fillers; too many times they post all the tank-swap-cage places but skip the guy down the road who actually does fills.

1 year ago

Cool, this is an easy way. I generally use All Trails app but I see this being a great easy backup when nothing close shows on All Trails.

1 year ago

Wow! Most helpful article ever!

Ann Wilson
1 year ago

Wow! The article on finding trails is the most interesting and useful I’ve seen on the RV Daily Tips website! I’m going to a new area to work at a KOA and wondered if there was a book or something about hiking, but this way of finding trails on the Google map is awesome! I can’t wait to get started exploring and now it will be so easy because of this wonderful article! Thank you!

1 year ago

wow! I did that with restaurants and then camping and it showed those too. Clicked on the tent icon and it brought up address , distance and phone number. Tried on Apple Maps and it did the same perhaps not as robustly though. Thanks!

Wren Grace
1 year ago

Thanks. That is really helpful news to me!

Scott Gitlin
2 years ago

Thanks for the info!

Mike & Cathi Stark
2 years 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.

2 years ago

Cool trick! Thanx

2 years ago

Great use of maps!

Suellen Jeffrey
2 years ago

This is fantastic! Thanks

pauline klein
2 years ago

Very good information, thanks.

2 years 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
2 years 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
2 years ago

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

Nancy R Warfield
2 years ago

this is amazing! thanks a million

John R Crawford
2 years 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
2 years ago

awesome – thanks so much for the tip!!

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