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7 National Parks to Visit Virtually
While many facilities remain closed, you can still experience some breathtaking U.S. national parks through Google Earth’s virtual tours. Just sit back, relax, and start putting together your national park bucket list.
Take in stunning geological history at Grand Canyon National Park, one of the world’s largest canyons and arguably the most iconic landscape in America. You can explore the South Rim or go on a virtual hike down the popular Bright Angel Trail, where you’ll descend into the canyon to discover one of the most remarkable natural wonders in the world.
Virtually wander where the high Mojave Desert meets the low Colorado Desert at the weird but wonderful Joshua Tree National Park. Nicknamed “J-Tree” by the locals, this magical place is home to more than 400 climbing formations, wacky namesake trees, and a mystifying landscape that evokes creativity within everyone who visits.
When the mountains call there’s no better answer than Rocky Mountains National Park. Showcasing postcard-worthy mountain peaks, like the famous Longs Peak, you can take a virtual trek to elevations as high as 14,259 feet. Take in lush pine trees, crystal-clear mountain lakes, and breathtaking views as far as the eye can see.
Founded in 1916, Hawaii Volcanoes National Parkhas been shaped by the world’s most active volcano, Kilauea. On this virtual tour, a park ranger — and Hawaiian native — shares the history of the land, the people who live there, and Pele, the goddess of fire and volcanoes. Explore the Nahuku lava tube, which was formed by a flow of molten hot lava, and see the volcanic cliffs and sea arches found at the end of the Chain of Craters scenic drive.
Resting on top of a dormant volcano, behold the wonders of America’s first national park, Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone remains one of the country’s most popular and largest national parks in the U.S. The park is peppered with a vast ecosystem, colorful hot springs, mudpots, extraordinary waterfalls, and perhaps the park’s best-known attraction: The Old Faithful geyser. Erupting nearly 20 times a day, you can watch Old Faithful shoot water 100 to 180 feet in the air in an extraordinary display.
Witness the majesty ofGreat Smoky Mountains National Park. Explore the unbroken chain of mountains that runs the span of the park and take in the views from Clingmans Dome, the park’s highest peak. Meander through wildflower fields, forests, and waterfalls — you might even catch a distant glimpse of the American Black Bear, the symbol of the Smokies.
Discover Bryce Canyon National Park and the Earth’s largest collection of red rock pillars. On this virtual tour, learn how these towers are formed, gaze up at 250-year-old Douglas fir trees from Wall Street, and follow a ranger on horseback down Peekaboo Loop Trail, one of the more strenuous trails in the park. When the sun goes down, a new show begins — here, the night sky is darker than almost any other place in the United States. A park ranger points out different constellations that normally go unseen due to light pollution.