By: Kevin Rouse


The North Face has released a new iPhone app that allows users to look up local routes, track their progress in real time, and share their routes via popular social networking sites. The Trailhead app is powered by, and takes advantage of the website's vast library of user-submitted routes. While the app was designed with a number of different audiences in mind, namely hikers, mountain bikers, and backcountry skiers, it loses little overall functionality, working well in a mountain-bike specific setting.

Similar to the popular iMapMyRide app, the Trailhead app brings many of the same features to the trail, albeit with a much more streamlined execution. The app can track route distance, average speed, and elevation change. The app also makes the most of the iPhone platform, allowing users to take geo-tagged pictures in-app, as well as listen to music within the application, eliminating the many issues experienced with concurrent data recording and music playback in the MapMyRide app. In several weeks of testing, we encountered hardly a glitch, and were pleasantly impressed with the app. Here's a quick rundown of the app's pros and cons.

– User generated content allows for a large database of trails
– Smooth, easy to use interface
– In-app music and photo capabilities
– Sattelite-view maps are great for trail-riding.
– Fast GPS signal locking
– Coolest intro screen for any app we've seen (not that it's useful in any way)
– Free!

– User generated content could use some sort of quality control
– App experience varies by area, as some areas are lacking in user submitted routes and reviews.
– GPS will drain your battery quickly (though battery usage is better than in some other apps that use GPS)

Coming Soon: Check back with in a few weeks for a comprehensive review of 8 apps that will render your cyclometer obsolete.