Jan. 31, 2013 at 8:43 PM ET
Street View is usually used to check out an address or street before you drop by, but recently, Google has been adding picturesque and remote locations to the service. The latest to get the virtual tour treatment is the Grand Canyon, captured with a backpack-mounted panoramic camera rig.
Everyone's favorite road trip destination is not the first big departure from street photography that has come to Google's popular mapping service. Early last year brought river and trail views from the Amazon — then California's state parks got a thorough drive-through — and then the Kennedy Space Center.
The rough and extensive trails of the Grand Canyon didn't permit the Street View cars, of course, and not even Google's trike or trolley would fit. Instead, some brave Googlers strapped the whole "Trekker" 360-degree photo setup to their backs and set out for a nice hike — with 40 pounds of equipment on their backs.
You can't argue with the results: 9,500 panoramic images of one of the most beautiful natural environments on Earth. You can mosey along the trail at your own pace and zoom in on features you find interesting — no need to worry about wind chill, weather, or when you need to get back to the hotel.
If you're interested, you can start where Google starts you, or just zoom in on the park and drag the Street View figure to wherever looks good. There's more information and links at the Google blog post describing the Grand Canyon update.
Want more? Google's World Wonders page links to dozens more historic sites and panoramic views.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.