Google Maps has some updates available now and in the coming weeks that can help you enjoy the outdoors this spring and summer. Going outside is good for you and these updates are also good for you.
Download Maps of U.S. National Parks
When I was in my 20’s and exploring some national parks on my own with a map and compass it was both amazing and sometimes nerve-wracking to be completely offline. Thankfully, you can still get that experience today because huge swaths of some National Parks don’t have cell phone coverage.
If you’re not handy with a map and compass (or a GPS unit), you can now download Google Maps of National Parks to save on your phone. Google says this feature will be rolling out over the next couple of weeks. I already have the option when viewing Acadia National Park on my Pixel 5.
Note, I still wouldn’t go out offline without a map and compass because you never know when something will go wrong with your phone.
Popular Trails and Attractions
I’m the kind of person who generally prefers to find the less-popular trails in a National Park. That said, sometimes there are good reasons why a trail or attraction is popular and I do have to go see what all the fuss is about. The latest update to Google Maps makes it easy to find popular trails, trailheads, and attractions in National Parks.
Now when you use the Google Maps app to find trails in National Parks you’ll see complete trails. The trail maps include information about their relative difficulty and type of trail (hiking, running, bicycling). The trail maps also include pictures contributed by Google Maps users.
Popular attractions in National Parks are now featured in Google Maps as images with related visitor information.
Find Tricky Trailheads
In an update coming later this month, Google Maps will now provide step-by-step directions for locating trailheads in National Parks. The old grump in me sees this as a good and bad thing. It’s good it might help more people experience some cool trails. It’s bad in that it might bring more traffic to some trails that might not be able to handle it.
Go Outside, It’s Good For You!
I hope these Google Maps updates help more people go outside and experience some cool things in National Parks. Remember, going outside is good for.