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TOTAGO logoHere in the Pacific Northwest, we’re surrounded by wilderness. But increasing traffic and terrible drivers mean that getting to those sites can be a pain. With this week’s App of the Week, you can get out to the wilderness using public transit, saving money, avoiding frustration and even helping to reduce pollution that could hurt the wilderness you’re about to enjoy.

The app shows you transit maps in addition to the topographical trail maps.
The app shows you transit maps in addition to the topographical trail maps.

Totago—which stands for “Turn off this app, go outside”—is a free Android and web app for planning trips accessible by public transit. Just punch in your current location, find a pre-mapped hike, and tell Totago when you want to hike; then the app will find the right bus routes and hiking trails for you.

While you can use something like Google Maps to get transit directions most places, the Totago team has found the best park entrances for those arriving by transit. Totago also provides offline topographical maps to keep you on track out in the wilderness, which could come in handy even if you’re driving to the trailhead.

And while all that is nice, what really makes Totago neat is the custom trip feature. For $.99, Totago will build a hike tailored to where you want to go and your hiking abilities. That hike is then added to the Totago library, helping to expand public transit-accessible hiking for everyone.

To get a custom hike, head over to the “Buy Hike” page, type in your credit card details, and enter information like preferred trip length and difficulty. You can even include a note to the trip planners, letting them know if you want to hit certain parts of the park or if you want to stay on certain paths.

I had Totago build me a custom hike at Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. While they already had a hike going through the park, I wanted to meet a friend in Issaquah and then do a hike together. I’m an intermediate hiker and I wanted to just spend half-a-day hiking. So I sent all that info to Totago, and the next day I got a hike that fit my needs perfectly.

The app was created by a distributed team that includes a developer in Mexico City, a Brussels-based business development lead and a Denver-based product development guy. But the app is primarily run out of Seattle, and the available hikes reflect that. Many hikes are no more than an hour bus ride from downtown.

However, anyone can request a custom hike, no matter where they are. So San Franciscans can get plans for an adventure to Golden Gate National Park and Portlanders can get trips to Forest Park. Totago is working on expanding its current library to new areas and requesting hikes outside the Seattle area will help the team decide where to expand in the future.

Users in the Seattle area can also join up with the Totago community and participate in group hikes organized through the app’s Facebook page.

Totago is a free app on Android. iOS users can use the web app, which works on mobile and desktop browsers, but doesn’t allow for offline viewing.

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