PeakFinder for the iPhone

After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.
~Nelson Mandela

I have to admit I love my iPhone and its special powers. I am particularly fond of my new iPhone App, PeakFinder USA West. This application names peaks from your current GPS location or from the panoramic viewpoint of a peak you select. This is especially helpful when you really want to know what the names of peaks are from a summit or just from a valley (great for a road trip). I have to admit even when I am armed with a great topo map it can be difficult to be absolutely sure that I am applying the correct name to a peak. Now a novice can show off big time naming important mountains.

This app also features a compass that can be controlled vertically and turned like a steering wheel. I like to keep my favorite GPS apps in a folder so that I can get access to them quickly, like this…

iphonePeakFinder’s menu conveniently locates a peak alphabetically in the Peak Directory or by using your current GPS location to access views from the top of Nearby Peaks.

NearbypeaksBelow is an example of PeakFinder’s northeast view from the top of  one of my favorite peaks to climb, Tehachapi Mountain. One doesn’t even need to be on the summit of a mountain to enjoy visualizing what it will actually be like at the top! I really love the simplicity of the drawings.

TehMtTo put this into play I selected a photo taken from Mount Whitney this summer, then selected the viewpoint: Mount Whitney on the app. It gives a general idea of what major peaks are in the photo. This is pretty cool in my book.


MtWhitneyOne big drawback…currently PeakFinder offers information in the western United States and the Alps in Europe only.


  1. Pingback: hiking – navigating – trail finding apps | wanderingdot

  2. I just downloaded PeakFinder, had been meaning to! Nice of you to post the link and sweet review! This will really help me get to know the peaks around me here in NM. Also check out the AllTrails app, which is free!

    • My favorite is when I am with a group of very knowledgable hikers and they have no idea you are using the Peakfinder app to identify peaks from all different directions and distances. I am always amazed that no one asks what I am using as a reference.

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  4. Adelaide and I are really thinking about getting an iphone for the thru hike and your post is making it even more tempting. Was the iphone also your main source for posting along the trail? How much battery life could you get and how did you keep it charged?

    • All my blog trail journals and photos on them posted during the hike were done solely on my iPhone and uploaded when I had cell service. The iPhone served as a GPS, voice recorder, camera, music player, book (uploaded novels but didn’t read a lick), internet source, and fieldguide. I loved the ease of the system and was not tied to finding a computer when resupplying. Recharging was a challenge and I used the Surge Solar Charger. I did turn off the phone when I was not using it. When I didn’t have cell service I kept it in airplane mode which saved a lot of battery. BTW, the GPS system with Topo Maps works without cell service, but has to have airplane mode off. I am going to be looking for more beefy charger for this years trip (and not more added weight).Here a is link to Dream’s trail journal and the system that he used with a Blackberry Bold. I met him on Dick’s Pass in the Sierras.

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