Summer is just around the corner, and that means many of you are planning a road trip to one of America’s 63 national parks. The National Park Service recorded 312 million visits in 2022, an increase of 5% over the previous year, and while that’s still a bit lower than pre-pandemic levels, figuring out how to make the most of your time in the wild can sometimes be — well — a bear.
To help make you the most of your outdoor adventure, Google is rolling out updates to Google Maps that will help you get around the park a bit easier and perhaps with more confidence about your enjoyment of the experience, addressing challenges such as identifying a trail that suits your group’s ability or finding public restrooms close to your location.
The updates, which Google announced Tuesday in a company blog post, focus on four key areas of interest to many park visitors, including those must-do attractions, campgrounds, visitor centers and trailheads. The updates will include more details about the attractions, such as photos, videos and reviews from other visitors to help you decide whether it’s worth adding to your itinerary.
Another helpful update will make it easier to decide whether a particular trail in the park meets your desires and skill levels. Maps will highlight the entire route of the trail, from where it begins to where it ends, and include photos and reviews from other users, including how difficult it is and whether it’s suited for walking, hiking or biking.
Getting to the park and to the trails should be a bit easier with more precise directions, including highlighting park entrances on the map. And because cell service can often be sketchy in the wilderness, Google will offer a new way to download park maps for offline use.
The updates will come to iOS and Android users later this month, with updates for parks around the world planned in the coming months, Google said.