Parks and Rec

VIDEO: Trek Our Trails with Google

San Diego is known for its many hiking trails. But sometimes, you want to know what you’re getting into before you make that trek. Or maybe you just want to see if the view really is as spectacular as the photos.

County Parks and Recreation and Google have joined forces to help give you a glimpse of our trails before going. Soon, there will be select trails highlighted on Google’s site with 360-degree views.

Here’s how it was done.

In April, Parks deployed the Google Trekker kit to Agua Caliente County Park. A ranger completed a lengthy training and test, and then he assembled the 40-pound pack before taking it out in Moonlight Canyon.

The 360-degree camera at the top of the pack snaps images every two seconds, capturing real-life trail experiences that can be viewed online. A complement to Google Street View, Google Trekker takes users off-roading through some of America’s most popular outdoor venues in a virtual environment.

The pack began its journey in the desert, traveled through the Mountain Borrego Preserves collecting footage of Santa Ysabel East and West and Volcan Mountain, then into Ramona with stops at the Ramona Grasslands and Barnett Ranch.

Central San Diego destinations included Goodan Ranch /Sycamore Canyon and Los Penasquitos County Preserve. Lakeside-area destinations included Lindo Lake County Park, Lakeside Linkage, Oakoasis County Preserve and both Flume trails. North County destinations included San Elijo Ecological Reserve, Guajome Regional Park and Wilderness Gardens County Preserve.

A total of 10 rangers wore the pack, collecting images of 14 different parks and preserves across the region. Sites were selected based on factors like location, trail use, trail conditions, opportunities for education and public inquiries.

The equipment is currently en route to Google headquarters where a team will process and edit the content for online use in about 6 months.

Look out for County parks and trails on Google Trekker and watch above to see how much work our rangers put in to make sure you get the best view before you go!

Andy Tolley is a multimedia designer with the County of San Diego Communications Office.