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What is Google Earth?

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The idea is simple. It's a globe that sits inside your PC. You point and zoom to anyplace on the planet that you want to explore. Satellite images and local facts zoom into view. Tap into Google search to show local points of interest and facts. Zoom to a specific address to check out an apartment or hotel. View driving directions and even fly along your route.

That by itself is fantastic, and the fact that it's free makes it even better. But why do we use it on

You may have noticed that some trail pages have links to Google Earth Placemarks and Google Earth Tracks. This is additional information about this trail. After you install Google Earth and you've successfully connected to the Google servers (you can look up addresses and see maps, for example) you can click on any of these special links to get more trail information.

If you open or save the .kmz file you can use it in Google Earth. If you select "open" it will open Google Earth for you and zoom to that location. Placemarks are spots on the earth that you will zoom to, like trailheads, obstacles and other features worth mentioning.

Google Earth Tracks take that one step further. If you open a Track you can see the entire trail laid out on the earth. But that's not all you can do -- you can also instruct Google Earth to do a "flyover," letting you see the trail as it's run.

  1. Open or save a Google Earth Track and make sure you can see the trail in your Google Earth application.
  2. On the left in Google Earth there is a "Places" menu where you should see your new .kmz file name highlighted. Click the little triangle next to that to open up the Track and see what is under there.
  3. Highlight the "Path" line with the little red car by clicking on it.
  4. Then at the bottom of the "Places" menu there is a little "play" button like for your DVD or VCR player. Click that button to start the flyover.

If you download and save the Placemarks first you'll be able to see them as you do your Track flyover. Enjoy!

Please note that while we are happy to answer questions and provide more information about a particular trail we are not qualified to help you with your Google Earth installation. Please consult the Google Earth Support pages for more help.

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Trail information is only accurate on the date posted. Trails may have changed or closed since that date. Use this information for historical purposes only. Contact the Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management for up-to-date trail information.

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