Google is rolling out new Maps features to make it easier for users to navigate national parks with the app. The tech giant says the new updates are designed to help users find the information they need when visiting a national park, such as discovering things to do and finding your way around the park.
With this update, when searching for a route, Google Maps highlights the entire route on the map, instead of just a pin. The company says this feature is intended to help people easily identify where a trail ends and begins and what the route looks like. You can also view reviews and photos from the Google Maps community. The app will pull up useful details from the Maps community, such as what kind of route it is, its difficulty, and whether it’s better to run, walk, or bike.
Google Maps also makes it easier to quickly identify the most popular places in a park, such as attractions, campgrounds, visitor centers, and trailheads. If you’re planning to visit a national park, you can search for the park and view highlight photos of the major landmarks from the Maps community. You can tap the photos for additional information, such as videos and reviews.
In addition, the app provides users with more accurate directions. Later this month, users will see park entrances marked on the map, and now when you request walking or biking directions to a particular trail, Maps will direct you directly to the starting point of the trail.
Google is also launching a new way to download an offline map for a park. Users can tap the “download” button on the park’s Google Maps listing to download it for offline use. With this option you can easily find your way without internet access or mobile data. The download button will appear on park listings later this month, Google says.
“These features are coming to all national parks in the US in April and will roll out to parks around the world in the coming months,” the company wrote in a blog post. “Whether you’re building your list of must-see sights or trying to find the best running route, Google Maps has all the information you need in one place, so you can save time planning and spending time exploring. “
It is worth noting that with the launch of the new features, Google Maps is encroaching into AllTrail territory. The fitness and travel mobile platform provides users with thousands of crowdsourced reviews and images. Of course, AllTrail’s covers more than just national parks, so Google is still fairly new to the game.
As part of the announcement, Google shared that the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the top-rated national part of the country, according to data from Google Maps. The park is followed by Bryce Canyon National Park, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Kenai Fjords National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Acadia National Park, Badlands National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, and Grand Teton National Park.