Lonely Planet Writer

New GPS website will help you find off-the-beaten-path trails in US national parks

More and more people are heading to America’s national parks to enjoy the incredible nature found around the US. But if you’re hoping to break from fellow travellers and get away from the crowds, a GPS company is aiming to help get hikers off-the-beaten-path.

Sunset at the Newfound Gap in the Great Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA. US national park trails
Sunset at the Newfound Gap in the Great Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA. Image by ©Sean Pavone/Getty Images/iStockphoto

TomTom – a GPS, traffic and navigation company – announced that it is trying to make it easier for people to discover new paths by launching a website that provides dozens of digital trail maps to some lesser-known spots.

The company notes that last year, US national parks saw a 7.7% increase in visitors, which means 24 million more people were heading out to explore popular trails and parks.

The Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse in Acadia National Park, Maine, USA.
The Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse in Acadia National Park, Maine, USA. Image by ©Sara Winter/Shutterstock

With more people enjoying the country’s natural spots, the new website will provide maps on trails at some of the less travelled parks around the country, such as the Deer Valley Loop in Saguaro National Park in Arizona, and the North Vista Trail at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado. It will also explore some of the better-known parks, but will look at lesser-known trails within those areas, like Lost Horse Mine Loop in Joshua Tree National Park in California and Cadillac North Ridge Trail in Acadia National Park in Maine.

Users can search by location and then download a file to any of their devices that accept GPS trails. According to TomTom, “there is also a dedicated group of influencer trails from top outdoor and fitness aficionados, allowing visitors to travel the same paths as these outdoor enthusiasts”.

The project is a partnership with the National Park Foundation, which the company will support with donations through National Park Week, which runs 15 to 23 April. Those celebrations will extend to free entry to parks around the country on the weekends of National Parks Week, meaning visitors can hit up their closest spot for free on 15, 16, 22, and 23 April. To learn more about the trails, visit TomTom’s website

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