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Okay Google: Let's Take A Hike

Great Parks of Hamilton County
Teams wore Google Trekker utility backpacks that function like Google Street View cars.

You can now use your smartphone to check out that local hiking trail before you set out. Images of trails throughout 16 Hamilton County parks were captured in spring and summer last year and are now available on Google Maps.A team of 37 people wore Google's Street View Trekker backpacks to map 200 miles worth of trail in places like Winton Woods and Sharon Woods. the backpacks use the same technology as Google's Street View cars, capturing 360-degree images. That means you can now see a "real view" of Great Parks of Hamilton County's 78-mile trail network.

Or, as the park system puts it, you can "check before you trek."

Credit Google Maps
A look at the Great Oaks Trail at Winton Woods.

"Whether you are looking for your next trail to experience, or are just wanting to get a quick nature fix, Google Maps provides that connection," says Great Parks of Hamilton County CEO Jack Sutton in a statement. "It has made Great Parks much more accessible and interactive with just a few clicks."

Great Parks of Hamilton County became the first park system in the Greater Cincinnati area to partner with Google for its mapping project when the two partnered up last year.

How It Works

Navigate to Google Maps on your computer or smartphone and search for the park you want. Next, drag and drop the "Browse Street View Images" icon -- it's that thing that looks sort of like a person -- over any of the highlighted trails.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.