Google adds virtual visits to 32 Colorado hikes, tourist traps

Tamara Chuang
The Denver Post
Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs is one of many tourist locations recently mapped by Google. Virtual tours will be available for more than 30 sites starting Tuesday.
Getty Images/iStockphoto | iStockphoto

Last summer, hikers with bizarre backpacks could be seen trekking the trails in the Garden of the Gods, climbing stairs at Red Rocks Amphitheatre and peering at the gorillas in the Denver Zoo. Now we know why.

Google Maps sent the wanderers to places where no Google Street View car has gone before. On Tuesday, more than 30 virtual off-street tours of Colorado hiking trails and tourist attractions go live online, with much of the physical work done by employees of Visit Denver and Visit Estes Park, the city visitor bureaus.

“Imagery has come to be an expectation for people,” said Susan Cadrecha, communication manager for Google Maps. “It’s part of our overall mission to be more comprehensive.”

Google’s Street View maps, which rolled out around 2007, let people remotely see what it’s like to walk down actual streets. Using cameras atop cars to capture a 360-degree view of driving down the street, Google’s process takes those images and stitches them together so people online are immersed in a scene. They can turn left, right or look behind to see what one would see if driving down the street.

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