How to find lovely walks away from the hiking hotspots

Find out what four Country Walking readers thought of the komoot app

komoot-hero

by Hope Elkins |

Want to walk this summer while avoiding the local holiday crowds? Get komoot and find route inspiration in under-the-radar locations, wherever that might be for you.

From the Pentlands to Pembrokeshire, from the Kent coast to Speyside, no matter which corner of the country you call home, there is lovely walking to be had. If you take the approach that walking is about your attitude, then you’ll never be limited to the hiking hotspots.

And that means no standing in a queue all day in the ‘footpath yield dance’ as you negotiate who gets right of way on a busy section of trail.

At komoot, it’s our goal to make adventure accessible to all, no matter where you are. That’s why we make it easy for anyone to find, plan and share adventures, even in places that are not generally hailed as walking meccas. And in a year where travel is still looking uncertain and the local walking destinations are likely to be chock-a-block, there has never been a better opportunity to embrace under-the-radar walks and discover pockets of hidden walking gems away from the summer crowds.

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

But what about those hidden gems? There are a number of ways to find them on komoot, depending on how hands-in you want to be.

collection-tip

For the light-touch planner, komoot Collections show a curated list of Tours within a specific area – Hiking around Cambridge, Hiking in Epping Forest, Hiking around Winchcombe. Click on these and you’ll find a list of hyper-local routes that can inspire your next walk… just about anywhere! You’ll find these Collections at www.komoot.com/discover/hiking-trails

tour-tip

You can source more personalised walking ideas by using komoot’s Tour recommendations. Enter your sport, your location and your fitness level (so the results include Tours that have accurate time estimates), and komoot will show you routes that have been walked before in your area. You can then adapt the route to suit your needs.

Highlights-tip

When you open the route planner on komoot, you’ll notice small red dots scattered across the map. These represent community Highlights – recommendations from the local walking community about anything they deem relevant – the nicest place for a picnic break, a section of footpath that heads right through a bird sanctuary, or maybe even an obscure little off-licence that sells surprisingly amazing pork pies. This insider intel is the thing that tales a walk from ‘nice-enough’ to a ‘great day out.’ Whether planning from scratch or adapting an existing Tour, you can incorporate these Highlights into your route (do so by clicking on them and literally selecting ‘include on route’), you’ll be guaranteed a lovely walk, wherever you are.

You can share your alternative walks and areas with Country Walking and Trail by tagging (or inviting) the profiles in your completed Tours on komoot. You can add photos and a short description to highlight some of the local must-sees.

Head straight to the Country Walking profile here and the Trail profile here.

Don’t believe us? Here’s what four real readers thought of komoot’s app after a month’s intensive testing.

tester-scores
Photo: Tom Bailey

What did you like most about the app?

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

Sarah – A few clicks and my route was planned! After I’d planned it, it gave me the ‘difficulty level’ of the route and I really liked this feature as it would help me to plan walks suitable for my level of fitness. Loved that you can set you level of fitness when planning a walk and it adjusted the time and speed accordingly – great when you are planning a walk with others. I love taking photos on my walks so the camera feature was god. While having my cuppa with my feet up looking at my completed walk I found the ‘video camera’ icon – this was a nice little bonus to view my ‘adventure story’ and I can share this too :-).

Michelle – It’s very user friendly and easy to follow. I personally like to jump straight in and use technology without prior knowledge and I really could. I really liked the detailed weather forecast for the route too.

Matthew – Easy access to nearby walking routes with photos.

Were you aware of the surface, way type and elevation profiles in the route planner? Do you think they’re useful?

Sarah – Yes the elevation profile was great. Click on it and with the green line bar I could scroll across to view the elevation, and the map pointer moved within the map – this was brilliant.

Ronnie – Yes very useful.

Matthew – Yes I can see they may be useful for anyone who may have some form of mobility issue.

Michelle – Yes all the information is transparent on the app in the planning stages. Info on the surface and elevation are very useful as it helps you to prepare what gear you would require for your hike.

Were you aware of the Highlights feature in komoot? Did you find any local Highlights you weren’t aware of?

Matthew – No I didn’t but I know my local area very well thanks to 2020 lockdown!

Michelle – I came across the Highlights in the app whilst exploring I personally did not find any new local Highlights. As far as I could see though, the app already had all the local key Highlights plotted on the app. Having this feature will allow others though to explore and enjoy those local Highlights. I personally think this is a nice feature and touch. The app also allows you to add local Highlights which again is great for sharing with others.

Ronnie – Yes, aware but I rarely use them.

Sarah – Yes I could see the Highlights feature in the app and I was aware of all the highlights I passed/saw on my walk.

Were you aware of the Tour recommendations/search feature? Do you think it’s useful?

Sarah – I enjoyed looking at the recommendations for inspiration and to see other peoples’ adventures.

Matthew – Yes, it is great. I can imagine using it when I’m somewhere I don’t know but would like a recommended walk.

Ronnie – Yes. I used them when hiking abroad.

Michelle – The Tour section was a useful tool as I can see that others have shared their routes and personal highlights. It prompted me to save potential Tours on the app to explore later. It’s a bit like a follow-up feature and I will take advantage of routes already plotted by others. It means you can go for a walk without having to do the planning yourself if you’re short of time. It has also brought to my attention routes I didn’t know existed in my area.

How does this product compare to others you’ve used?

Ronnie – The best on the market in my opinion.

Sarah – I thought it had everything needed in on app to get outside walking. It planned the route easily, gave the route difficulty, time, distance, the walking speed and the weather. I’ve found other apps too time consuming or I’ve needed to plan the route using a laptop. With this app I planned the route using my mobile phone – perfect!

Michelle – Komoot is a lot more in-depth than other apps I’ve used previously. It gives you a greater insight and overview and allows you to plan. It has lots of analytical features and it’s your choice to use those or not. It gets you from A to B comfortably.

Matthew – I’ve little experience with these type of mobile apps. I regularly use a dedicated GPS device.

Would you use this app again?

Matthew – Definitely. I would use this app for researching new route ideas in areas I’m less familiar with.

Ronnie – Yes, I use it at least weekly.

Michelle – Most definitely. I am fully converted. This will now be my go-to app because it’s so multifunctional for all the sports I participate in. It’s user friendly. Also I don’t have to carry my mobile in my hand, I can put it in my rucksack and just listen for the verbal instructions for directions.

Sarah – Yes 100%. Easy to use. Gives me all the important information to plan a walk. Easy to make a ‘story’ of your walk by taking photos and then creating your story to share with friends or social media. Also while walking it gave me my walking speed.

Are there any changes you would make to the product?

Ronnie – The Help Function 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 customisation options such as adding photographs on the go.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us