By Teri Vance
Visitors and residents alike can now virtually hike the trails in and around Carson City without ever going outside.
In a partnership the Google Maps, the Carson City Visitors Bureau mapped nine area trails using high-definition technology.
“It gives you the same experience as the street view on Google but on trails,” said Kyle Horvath, social media manager for the bureau. “It was an honor that Google called us to be part of this project. It’s just a testament to us marketing ourselves as an outdoor community.”
The trails — which include shorter trips such as Riverview Park and the Waterfall Trail to pieces of trail systems including the Tahoe Flume Trail — can be found at visitcarsoncity.com/google-trekker-carsoncity.
Horvath recruited help from fellow visitor’s bureau employee James Salanoa and local hiking enthusiasts Joe Reinboldt, Richard Miller and Jeff Potter to carry the 40-pound pack over the trails.
The backpack contained wifi and Google’s proprietary technology. A two-foot arm extending above the pack contained 14 cameras that captured 14 high-definition images in a 365-degree panorama every two seconds.
“It was nice that we got some help from the community because that backpack was heavy,” Horvath said.
He hopes the real-time view of the trails will encourage tourists to visit them.
“It’s a great planning tool,” he said. “People can preview the trails to see if it’s something they’d want to do. Someone from Chicago could plan their outdoor adventures in Carson City via Google Maps.”
It could also serve as a way for locals to see trails they haven’t had a chance to check out.
“If you are physically incapable of hiking the trails, this is a highly detailed way to see it, especially the Ash to Kings Canyon Trail, which is really our flagship trail.” he said. “You can still see all the amazing views. If you can’t physically be there, this is the next best thing.”
Horvath said mapping local trails can be complicated as some cross into private or federal lands without the proper permissions in place.
“We still have a lot of trails that are considered ‘social,’” he said. “As more of the trails get legitimized, we’re hoping we’ll get a second chance at it. We were able to get ten, and that doesn’t even scratch the surface. There’s just so much to map in Carson City.”
On the Web
To take a virtual hike on Carson City’s trails, go to visitcarsoncity.com/google-trekker-carsoncity.