Category Archives: Apps

End of Life for the Halfmile Pacific Crest Trail App

Halfmile Pacific Crest Trail app

Halfmile Pacific Crest Trail app

We are sad to announce the end of life for the Halfmile Pacific Crest Trail app effective March 15, 2019. We no longer have the resources to continue updating the app.

The Halfmile PCT app was one of the first PCT navigation apps when it was created in 2012 and has been downloaded by hikers more than 37,000 times. Unfortunately we have not been able to update the Halfmile PCT app since 2015.

Hikers will be able to download the Halfmile PCT App from the iPhone App Store or Google Play until March 15th. If the app is installed before then it will continue to work on your Smartphone. Keep in mind the Halfmile app has not been updated since 2015. It does not include data on the 2017 reroute in the Sierra Buttes (north of mile 1203 mileages will be off by 2.5 miles), some resupply information is no longer accurate, and at some point in the future (probably years from now) an update to your smart phone operating system may break the Halfmile app.


What about Halfmile’s PCT maps?
Halfmile PCT maps have been updated for the 2019 hiking season and are available for download now.

What about Halfmile’s PCT GPS data?
Halfmile’s PCT GPS data will continue to be regularly updated.

What PCT navigation app can I use instead of the Halfmile app?
Gaia GPS is our favorite GPS navigation app.
Pros: Powerful GPS navigation tool. Halfmile’s PCT GPS data is easily loaded into Gaia for offline use. Maps other than the PCT can be downloaded so you can navigate around large fire closures. Supports waypoint navigation for difficult situations (across miles of snow, for example).
Cons: Learning curve, especially for hikers unfamiliar with GPS navigation.

The Guthook Guides app is widely used by PCT thru-hikers. Guthook is more of a GPS-enabled trail guide but excellent for PCT hikers in most situations.
Pros: Easy downloading of trail data for offline use. Widely used by other PCT hikers. Useful information about town resources (accommodations, resupply, post offices, etc). Waypoint comments by other hikers can be very useful.
Cons: Gaia is more useful than Guthook in difficult navigation situations such as large areas of heavy snow or long reroutes around large fire closures. Guthook base maps show only a narrow area along the PCT.

Backcountry Navigator is another GPS navigation app popular with some Android smartphone users.

Philip at has a post comparing GPS-Enabled Trail Guide Apps vs General Purpose GPS Navigation Apps.

Gaia GPS reviews have been posted by PMags and Adventure Alan.

Notice to Hikers: Halfmile Smartphone Apps Will Not Be Updated For 2018

The Halfmile smartphone app showing Pacific Crest Trail information near Warner Springs, CA.

The Halfmile smartphone app showing Pacific Crest Trail information near Warner Springs, CA.

We have come to the unfortunate conclusion that the Halfmile Android and iPhone Apps will not be updated for the 2018 hiking season due to other commitments and lack of available time.

Halfmile Pacific Crest Trail Maps, GPS files, Google Earth Files, and Trail Notes have all been updated for 2018. Only the Smartphone Apps have not been updated. If hikers need to convert between 2015 mileages (still used by the Halfmile App) and 2018 mileages, a version of the Halfmile Trail Notes has been published that includes both 2015 and 2018 mileages.

What does this mean for 2018 Pacific Crest Trail hikers? Halfmile Smartphone Apps will continue to work, but hikers might notice:

  • Resupply and other information contained in the Halfmile Smartphone Apps may not be current and should be verified from other sources such as a phone call to the various locations or Halfmile Trail Notes.
  • The Sierra Buttes Reroute (starting near mile 1204), that was completed in the fall of 2017, is not included in the Halfmile app. This new route replaced about 4.4 miles of old trail with 6.9 miles of new trail.
  • Because the PCT is now 2.5 miles longer than the previous year, mileages in the Halfmile app north of about mile 1210 will be off by 2.5 miles.

  • Hikers needing an app that uses the latest Halfmile PCT data could consider Gaia GPS or other apps that import GPX files. It’s easy to import Halfmile data into these apps using the data at this web page.

    Halfmile data can be imported into the Gaia GPS or other smartphone apps.

    Halfmile data can be imported into the Gaia GPS or other smartphone apps.

    2018 Pacific Crest Trail Map Updates

    Pacific Crest Trail Maps, updated for 2018.

    Halfmile’s Pacific Crest Trail maps have been updated for the 2018 hiking season.

    The biggest changes for 2018 are in California Section M (in Northern California), where after several years of work, approximately 4.4 miles of old trail was replaced with 6.9 miles of new trail. This reroute increased the length of the PCT by 2.5 miles. The new route and mileages are shown on the new 2018 maps. Because of this, the Pacific Crest Trail is now 2.5 miles longer and the mileages north of PCT mile 1203 have increased by 2.5 miles. Mileage south of mile 1203 remain unchanged.

    Elevation profile pages have been improved for 2018 by squeezing more waypoints on the elevation charts.

    Halfmile’s Trail Notes have been updated for 2018 with the new mileage and now are available online.

    2018 Halfmile GPS and Google Earth files will be available in the next few days.

    The free Halfmile smartphone app will hopefully be updated in about a month. The app should auto update on your phone when a new version is available.

    Check the Halfmile What’s New Page and the Corrections and Updates Page for the latest information and corrections.



    Tracking Hikers With Google Earth

    Entering the latitude and longitude from a Delorme inReach satellite message in Google Earth with Halfmile data.

    Entering the latitude and longitude from a Delorme inReach satellite message in Google Earth with Halfmile data.

    Many Pacific Crest Trail hikers are using satellite messaging devices like the Delorme inReach or SPOT Messenger to communicate with friends and family. Using Halfmile Project data from and Google Earth can make these messages easier to understand for your followers back home.

    Halfmile data is available in several different forms — and the data matches exactly, no matter which form you are using. The data is available as follows:

    • Printable PCT maps
    • Android or iPhone Apps
    • Google Earth KML files
    • GPX files for loading into a GPS or third party Smartphone GPS app
    • Trail Notes

    A Halfmile point on the printable maps is the same in Google Earth or the Halfmile smartphone apps. If a satellite messenger sends latitude and longitude coordinates, these can easily be viewed by friends back home in Google Earth or simulated in the Halfmile smartphone app.

    Here are the steps to follow a hiker using a satellite message and Google Earth with Halfmile data:

      1. Download and install Google Earth.
      2. Download the Halfmile Google Earth KMZ file.
      3. Open the Halfmile KMZ file in Google Earth and save it to “My Places.”
      4. Expand the satellite message and note the latitude and longitude [see screen capture above].
      5. Enter the latitude and longitude in the Google Earth Search field [see screen capture above] and select the “Search” button.
      6. Google Earth will zoom to the location and show a marker [usually a pushpin] at your hiker’s location.
      7. If you have followed the steps correctly, the path of the Pacific Crest Trail and Halfmile waypoints will also be shown in Google Earth. It will be easy to see the location of your hiker in relation to these landmarks. In the screen capture above, the hiker is at a waypoint named WA2658, between PCT miles 2658 and 2658.5. You may need to expand the Google Earth “Time Sliders” to see all of the Halfmile waypoints.

    Halfmile data is updated each year, usually in January. For constancy, use the latest data. If you are using 2015 Halfmile maps, be sure to use the 2015 Google Earth or 2015 GPX files. If you are using other PCT information sources, the mileages may not match exactly.

    Note: A version of this blog post first appeared on the bog.