Well, it figures.

Google Earth comes out with a brand new viewing layer devoted entirely to hiking trails, and my company’s IT department decides to completely cripple my work machine, removing all the programs I use for this site and limiting my internet access to Internet Explorer 6. Blech.

That said, I probably shouldn’t be doing this stuff at work in the first place, but I don’t go on smoke breaks – or leave for lunch most of the time – so I should be allowed this.

Anyway.

Google Earth has a brand new layer, courtesy of Trimble Outdoors and the venerable Backpacker Magazine.

It looks pretty robust, too. Clicking on trailhead icons will get you a detailed map, GPS coordinates and – if you’re lucky – some pictures and a paragraph description. If you’ve got a GPS phone, you can even have the maps sent straight to your gadget. Although if you’re going on the trail solely trusting a phone as your guide, then I hope you won’t be straying too far from civilization.

That said, it looks like it could be pretty cool, eventually. I don’t know about your home area, but right now the map’s Los Angeles hiking trail map looks pretty dang barren.

The trail difficulties seem a bit arbitrary, too. A boulder-hop down the Arroyo Seco is rated the same difficulty as a 12 mile trip up Mount Baldy with almost 4000 feet of elevation gain.

OK. I’m a little jealous. But know that – at least for now – Modern Hiker is your number one source for all things hiking in Los Angeles. Maybe not all. But some. And my write-ups are longer than a paragraph.

So go fool around with Google Earth, but make sure you come back ’round here, alright?

via Besthike.com, via Lifehacker.

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