With the pristine wilderness of Acadia National Park and over 3,000 miles of crystal clear shoreline, we’ll tend to believe that Vacationland is the best place to explore the outdoors. But what if we want to paddle the winding bends of the Colorado River? Explore the Canadian Arctic by dogsled? Summit over 12,000 feet to the top of Mount Fuji? With a little help from Google Trekker, we’ve discovered how to spend an afternoon on a virtual adventure around the world.
Since releasing Street View in 2007, Google has taken its 360-degree panoramic views off the grid with the help of cars, trolleys, tricycles…and the Trekker. Weighing a little over 40 pounds, the camera/backpack hybrid can be worn by a solo adventurer as they explore remote and unique locations around the world. Take a look at some of the Google Treks completed so far, and read on to view a few of our favorites.
“Ride the whitewater rapids, cruise the sleepy river bends, and discover the side canyons that make the Colorado River a treasured resource.”
—Chris Williams, Senior Vice President of Conservation at American Rivers
We’ve explored parts of the Rio Grande in Big Bend National Park, but the real lifeline of the southwest is the Colorado River. Over 1,450 miles long, America’s oldest (and most endangered) river passes through seven states, two countries and nine national parks – and supplies water and hydroelectric power to 36 million people. Through a partnership with American Rivers, Google Trekker users can paddle through 279 miles of the river and gain an appreciation for one of the world’s greatest natural wonders.
“The world needs to see unique places, and Canada’s Arctic is most definitely a unique place.”
—Christopher Kalluk, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated
Follow trails, hop on a snowmobile or quad, or get face-to-face with a dogsled team. In a span of four days, Christopher Kalluk of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and the Google Trekker team were able to explore an area of the Canadian Arctic not accessible by road. And with the help of Iqaluit residents (including everyone from high school students to community elders), online visitors can navigate snowy trails and learn a bit of Inuit history, without stepping into sub-arctic temperatures. While exploring the trail, be sure to keep an eye out for traditional igloos!
Last July, in addition to kicking off its official summer climbing season, Japan’s iconic dormant volcano was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To celebrate, UNESCO teamed up with Google Trekker to hike Mount Fuji’s complete Yoshida Trail – including the 3.6-mile hike to the top, a full 360-degree view from the crater and the zigzagging descent. This virtual tour of Japan’s highest peak has really given us the itch to climb, especially after seeing our own L.L.Bean team successfully summit New Hampshire’s Mount Madison.
Which worldwide trails would you like Google to trek next? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check out our ParkFinder tool to spend some real time in the outdoors near you!