At least once in a lifetime everyone should be able to see firsthand an Old Faithful eruption, the black obsidian sand beaches of Shoshone Lake, or the amazing Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. The three million annual visitors to Yellowstone have no doubt seen them, but that leaves the majority of the population who have still probably never seen these amazing sights. Thanks to Nature Valley, national park enthusiasts who have never seen these and many other breathtaking sites can get a front-row seat to some of the most spectacular natural wonders in Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and the Great Smoky Mountain National Parks.
A visit to the new Nature Valley Trail View website is a completely unique experience. The site is a portal to 300+ miles of trails in three national parks, complete with 360-degree, Google Street View style views of every step along the way. The project, conceived by McCann Erikson Worldwide, brings General Mill’s Nature Valley brand together with the National Parks Conservation Association in an effort to raise awareness and conservation for national parks.
For two weeks in each of the three parks, a crew of 8 to 12–including myself as a guide– hiked, and hiked, to capture 360-degree footage of trails in each of the parks covered. The camera used is the same type of camera that Google originally used for it’s Street View, except this one was modified to be carried like a backpack (all 40 pounds of it). The resulting footage can now transport users to a virtual hands-on tour of the parks. From an interactive map of the park, users can see which trails were covered, each step along the way of those trails, and on some of the more spectacular trails, a high-definition 360-degree view of scenic overlooks. The site also offers information about the trails, including elevation, distance, and points of interest along the way, making it a useful tool for scouting potential hikes as well.
Nature Valley plans to expand the project in the future, and are looking at other iconic parks as well as the possibility of user contributed footage. Enjoy the amazing scenery of Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, and Great Smoky Mountain National Parks at naturevalleytrailview.com, and view a slideshow of images from the trails covered here.
National Park Trips Web Producer