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You can take virtual tours of America's greatest national parks on Google Earth

By
Howard Halle
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The silver lining involved in living through a pandemic in the age of the Internet is that, while the flesh may be self-quarantined/socially distanced/working from home, the spirit can take online journeys far and wide—all while wearing sweatpants.

Take, for instance, the National Park System, truly one of the greatest in the world. Thanks to Google Earth, you can now virtually tour 31 national parks, even if, say, your office manager thinks you're working on, you know, that thing you're supposed to be working on.

Using satellite imagery from Google Maps, the site shows the U.S. from space, with small photos of each park serving as an icon. Click on one of those, or on one of the larger images of each location listed alphabetically on the right of the dashboard, and you'll be whisked away to your destination.

Tap on, for instance, Arches National Park in Grand County, Utah, and you’ll find yourself deposited at the foot of one of its major features—a sandstone fin boasting two massive, eye-shaped openings known as the North Window. You can use street view to hike along the trail leading up to it, or you can switch to a bird's eye view of the landmark and the other trails around it.

Google Earth’s National Park tours span the country, from Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State to Virgin Islands National Park. So try it out—but maybe not during office hours.

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