OnX Offroad Brings Off-Road Trail Maps into the 21st Century
OnX is a Montana-based company best known for their extremely detailed and accurate hunting map app. Hunters have used the onX Hunt app, which has over 4 million active users, for the past 10 years to stay compliant with local laws, navigate to and from remote hunting grounds, and share the thrill of the hunt with friends.
The robust features and clean user interface of the hunting app lead developers to realize that it would be perfectly suited, with some tweaks, for the ever-growing off-road market. OnX Offroad was born as a full-featured off-road navigation app that goes head to head with established off-road nav/trip planning apps like Gaia, FunTreks, and Burns Offroad.
With 350,000-plus miles of trails, 985-plus million acres of public land, 450,000-plus points of interest (POI), and 54,000-plus campgrounds and cabins, onX Offroad is an extremely powerful app for your adventure planning and navigation needs. With trail and road information being updated daily through linked databases and crowd-sourced information, it’s easy to stay on top of the latest travel information. In fact, onX’s dedicated in-house GIS team, who are all passionate off-road adventurers, is averaging the addition of 1,000-plus miles of trail per week.
The key with any truly useful off-road trip planning and navigation software is the ability to use the maps even when you’re out of range of cell towers. Saved maps within the onX Offroad app, which can be created within the app or through the new website interface, allow your GPS-enabled mobile device to keep you on course even when off-grid.
You can also enable tracking when in and out of your vehicle. You are able to track distance, elapsed time, as well as location. These user-created data points are super useful in a wide range of scenarios. A few examples are if you need to find your way back to camp when you decide to wander off to the river to catch dinner, or if you need to figure out your fuel supplies and range and get back to civilization.
This app is not just designed for the street-legal 4×4 vehicle community but for the overland, side-by-side, and dirt bike communities as well. One of the first steps you should take when using the app is filtering by your vehicle type. You can currently choose between a dirt bike, ATV/SxS 50-inch, SxS/high-clearance 4×4, or overland vehicle within the app. This allows you to quickly and easily ensure that the roads and trails ahead are appropriate for your adventure vehicle choice of the day.
Along with the tracking info you can also create custom waypoints within the app. This allows you to easily find your way back to your favorite camp spots, fishing holes, and the like. These custom waypoints can be built out with photos and other reference data, which you can then keep to yourself or share with your friends.
More Off-Road Trail Data
One of the key features of the onX Offroad app is that it is specifically dedicated to off-road trail discovery. Where other apps make you browse a list of trails or add them one-by-one as overlays on the base map, the onX app allows you to instantly and easily see all the trails in the area of the map you’re viewing.
The robust base map is color-coded for super-easy planning. Green trails are open trails and red trails are closed trails. The latest addition to the app, and a key feature that separates onX Offroad from the competition, is the new Featured Trails, which are marked in blue on the maps.
The blue lines on the map offer the most in-depth and easily digestible information available for each specific trail. You’ll see geo-located photos, detailed difficulty ratings, current weather, trail closure information, time to travel information, and more. Currently these Featured Trails are located in Colorado, Arizona, California, and Utah. Featured Trails are being regularly updated with the latest information and onX’s goal is to offer more in every state.
The onX Offroad team is working hard to integrate all facets of off-road adventure into their product. Their first big foray into the off-road racing world was at this year’s Mint 400. The official course map was released on the app. While most racers used the GPX course file within dedicated GPS systems, many spectators and race teams were able to use the onX Offroad app to access dedicated viewing locations, broken vehicles on the course, and more.
More Than Just Trails
Sure just cruising down remote off-road trails is fun, but I’d argue that accessing remote outdoor adventure locations is at least just as fun. The onX Offroad app offers easily searchable outdoor adventures, displayed as great icons right on the map; think hiking trails, fishing spots, mountain biking trails, and more.
Even more critically important, the app shows many fuel, provision, and campground locations. Fuel for your vehicle, fuel for you and your crew, and a place to settle in for a good night’s sleep in the wilderness are all vitally important on any adventure. These key points of interest are super easy to spot and plan for within the app, or on your computer before you ever leave home.
OnX Offroad is also great for organizing adventures for yourself, your close-knit friends group, or even your entire off-road club. The group organization features in the onX Offroad eco-system allow you to create pre-planned events and routes online and then share those routes with others. Syncing the event with the app then lets you take your group plans out into the field.
More Coming Soon
The onX Offroad team knows that there is lots of work still to be done to make their product as robust as it can be. A prime example is the current lack of ability to share updated route files with other app users while on the go. Right now there is no import/export function on mobile, as those functions are just available when syncing your computer to mobile. This doesn’t do you any good when you’re on a trip and your friends who are ahead of you want to send you an updated route or epic campground that they’ve found. The onX team has assured us that this and other similar features are coming very soon.
Get the App
The onX app is available for iOS and Android. You can first sign up for a no-strings-attached seven-day free trial, which doesn’t require any payment info to initiate. After the seven-day trial you can purchase a subscription to the app, which unlocks key usability features, for $29.99 per year. Sure, we all want free, but this level of development, continually updated content, and detail might just be worth a few dollars a year.
Get all the details about onX Offroad for yourself at onxmaps.com.
Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared in the July/August 2020 print issue of Tread Magazine.