Google Maps is getting four big upgrades — here’s what’s new

An image of a photo displaying the Google Map logo with maps in the background
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Google Maps is receiving a set of four upgrades that are designed to help make exploring National Parks even easier. 

This suite of new features has been announced via a Google blog post and is confirmed for the Google Maps app on both iOS and Android. Initially, these upgrades will be limited only to the 63 National Parks in the U.S. but later this year parks around the world will receive these new improvements as well. 

If you’re planning to adventure in the great outdoors this summer, but want some help finding your way around a park or locating the best things to do on your visit, then these Google Map upgrades are exactly what you need. So, here’s what’s been added to Google Maps to make your hiking experience a total walk in the park. 

Find must-see attractions 

The first Google Maps upgrade is focused on making locating each park’s biggest attractions as straightforward as possible.

From campgrounds to visitor centers, this new feature will allow you to identify the most popular spots in the park just with a quick glance at the map. And you can then click on each attraction to see a more detailed breakdown that will include photos, videos and reviews from previous attendees in the Maps community.  

See full trail routes 

Thanks to this upgrade now when you search for a trail on Google Maps, the app will highlight the entire route instead of just placing a pin. 

This allows you to easily find the start and end point of a trail, but it will also help you understand what the route looks like, so you don’t accidentally venture out onto a trail that is too challenging for your party. You’ll also see reviews and photos, and details such as the overall difficulty of the trail and whether it’s best for running, walking or cycling.  

More detailed directions 

Google Maps is aiming to make navigating National Parks much simpler by offering more precise directions. 

This will include highlighting a park’s various entrances and offering more detailed information about each individual trail. Plus, once you’ve selected a trail you wish to traverse, Maps will direct you right to the trailhead.  

Download offline park maps 

Anybody with any hiking experience will know that you can’t expect reliable cell coverage while exploring National Parks, which is why Google is making downloading offline park maps as straightforward as possible.

Just tap the “download” button on a park’s Google Map listing to save a fully offline version of the entire map to your device. This feature will ensure that even if you wander off the trail and find yourself without service, you’ll still be able to plot a route back to civilization. Just make sure you’ve got one of the best portable chargers to hand so you don’t run out of battery.  

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Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.