US National Parks Layer in Google Earth

[UPDATE 2008: this layer moved to the “Parks and Recreation” layer.]
New Layers Update in Google EarthOne of the big parts of the new layers update just discovered is the new US National Parks layer. You find the layer under the Featured ContentPlaces of Interest -> Parks and Recreation” sub-layer in Google Earth. You need to zoom down lower to one of the parks to see all of the information. The new layer not only shows the locations of National Parks all over the US, but also contains sublayers with park information and boundary information. Even more interesting is the “Trails” layer. For example, check out Yosemite and you see hiking trails all over the place including the trail up to the top of Half Dome. If you go to Denali National Park in Alaska they even have the preferred routes up Denali (also known as Mt. McKinley). Before climbers get too excited, I tried some mountains I’ve climbed and the trails to the ascent were there, but not the routes to the top (for example, Long’s Peak in Colorado). However, for planning a trip to a national park, this trail data is awsome!
According to Google’s brief press release on these new layers there are over 10,000 miles of trails in the 58 National Parks listed. I highly recommend you turn on the entire US National Park layer (and sublayers) and check it out.

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.


  1. Jimmy Lemon says:

    WOW! thats a lot of info. one heck of an update this. I personally wish there were a few more images in the updates but then again I guess this is the USP (unique selling point) for Google Earth now Microsoft seems to have got drawn level(ish) on the image front 🙁

  2. The National Park info is a nice layer. I would never have known about it if you hadn’t posted. Thanks!

  3. you should check out the forest service’s inciweb fire site. there’s a KML feed of active fires nation-wide. some even have perimieters.

  4. Slackpacker says:

    Hooray! I’ve been waiting for this data for a long time. I hope Google continues to add backcountry trail data – there’s a lot out there from state & national forests too. Even though this newest layer is a wonderful presentation (there are mileage numbers!), it’s still useful to have trails as KML files (ie for more intensive planning. That way you can select what trails to show, change the color, and convert to GPX. And they won’t disappear as you zoom.

  5. Looks like not all parks have trails data…
    Interesting stuff – I can’t compete with their fancy layering and labeling… I wonder how long until they venture into the National Forest realm…
    Now let me plug my website-

  6. Does this still work. Doesnt show up on my featured content list?????
    Not listed here either

  7. Bob, it was moved under the “Parks and Recreation Areas” layer. Updating the blog entry to make that clear.

  8. jerry isdale says:

    My local park (Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area) doesnt have trails, boundaries, or anything. Anyone got a contact at Google for this page? I’ve got contact at NPS SMNRA hot to do something.

  9. Hi,
    I’d love to find out where the data sources are for the national and state parks that appear in the Google Earth parks data layer.
    This would be a huge help for a non-profit project I’m involved in.

  10. Chad Lautner says:

    Why aren’t National Lakeshore and Seashore Parks shown under the National Park Layer? Looking at the map it would appear the Eastern US is devoid of national parks, but there are 4 Lakeshores in the Great Lakes, and and 8 Seashores east of the Mississippi along with 2 Seashores west of the Mississippi that are National Parks…

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