Tour national parks from your desk with Google Street View

Need a quick nature fix?

Thanks to the folks that brought you Google Earth, anyone with an internet connection can now take virtual tours of famous national parks in California.

Five national parks in California are now available on Google maps via Street View, which allows internet users to explore the world at street level through 360-degree photos. Included in the California national park collection are:

Joshua Tree National Park
Death Valley National Park
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park
Redwood National Park
Yosemite National Park

You can navigate your way down roads inside these parks and witness 360-degree views of desert landscapes, forests of gigantic trees, volcanic rock formations and snow-capped mountain ranges.

As reported by the Associated Press, Street View began filming the parks from the road last May after getting permission from the Department of the Interior. 

One of the parks, Death Valley, can get up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, so a view from an air-conditioned office might not be such a bad way to see it, at least until you can plan a trip when the temperatures drop. 

But the goal of the project really isn’t to promote armchair travel alone.

"Part of our goal is to inspire people to see these places in person," said Street View project manager Evan Rapoport, according to the Associated Press.

Death Valley's spokeswoman Cheryl Chipman had a positive review for the Associated Press: "I think it will make people want to come to the park. It's a cool place, but it is remote. When they see those photos and the crystal clear blue skies they're going to want to come here — especially in the middle of the winter."

Want to see these national parks in person? Head over to our Wild Days of Summer page where you can enter to win airfare to your favorite wild destinations.

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