Trail View
March 21, 2012 6:34 PM   Subscribe

Nature Valley Trail View is sort of a "street view" for 300 miles of hiking trails in Yellowstone, Grand Canyon and Great Smokies National Parks.
posted by stbalbach (8 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I found the navigation somewhat irksome, but there are some tricks such as going at 5x speed and stopping to look around when a stream or hill is reached, or clicking on the trail on the small map to jump ahead.
posted by stbalbach at 6:37 PM on March 21, 2012

I saw this earlier today and my initial reaction was mixed. I'm all for popularizing the national parks and being immersed in nature and all that, but some things just do not lend themselves to digitization. And my gut feeling is that this is one of those things.
posted by aheckler at 6:43 PM on March 21, 2012

It's a very nifty concept though; didn't mean to kick the thread off on a Debbie Downer note. :-)
posted by aheckler at 6:46 PM on March 21, 2012

On first glance, this seems like a neat idea. We can live vicariously through Trail View with virtual hiking. For the elderly, or those unable to travel, this is an innovative way to see treasured natural beauty from the comfort of their living room.

But what of those who might have been thinking about going to a national park, pulling on their pack and boots, and heading for an exciting trek in the great outdoors? If there is one person who changes their mind about actual hiking because they can stay home and virtual hike instead, then Nature Valley has done a disservice to the national parks. There is nothing like actually being there.
posted by netbros at 7:37 PM on March 21, 2012

I'm looking at Ramsey's Cascades, one of my favorite trails in the Smokies, and it really, really doesn't show it well. It'll be cool when eventually we can see things like this with detail (and sound!). It is a nice idea, though.
posted by Red Loop at 7:40 PM on March 21, 2012

Needs smell-a-vision. But, the Yellowstone trails were just as I remember them, without the smells of course.
posted by bricksNmortar at 7:54 PM on March 21, 2012

I was expecting more crumbs.
posted by orme at 4:56 AM on March 22, 2012

I agree with aheckler that some things just aren't the same in digital form. At the same time, my interest in nature was first awakened by watching nature shows on TV and reading the WWF magazine, so I think it's definitely a net plus to expose people to nature in whatever form, with the hope that they will be inspired to go outdoors and explore.
posted by verdeluz at 7:23 AM on March 22, 2012

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