Has Anyone Created a Virtual Hike?

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Home Forums Off Piste Other Activities Has Anyone Created a Virtual Hike?

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    Gerry V
    BPL Member


    Hi.  I was wondering if anyone has created a virtual hike and knows about a good free website to do this.

    I would like to create a virtual Long Trail challenge for students, staff, and faculty at my university.  I would do this as an initiative for our wellness committee to encourage physical activity.  Not looking to raise money and I have no budget.

    I am hoping for something that will track participants’ progress in completing 272 miles by hiking, running, skiing, treadmill, etc throughout the semester.  I would prefer something simple where participants enter their mileage, I am not looking for it to sync to devices or anything like that.  It would be cool but not a requirement to be able to add a few pictures of the Vermont mountains to provide some sense of shared place.

    Any thoughts are appreciated.  Thanks!

    Kevin Babione
    BPL Member


    Locale: Pennsylvania

    You might be able to do something within Google Maps and Street View, but I don’t know. I did a chunk of the Climb to Everest Base Camp on my elliptical that way.

    My elliptical has the iFit system which allows me to hike all kinds of trails (and automatically adjusts the resistance based on the slope), but that required someone to actually hike the trail (with a second person shooting video the entire time) and then go back and set the parameters.  I’ve “climbed” Kilimanjaro, Mt. Fuji, the Chilkoot trail in Alaska, and others that way.  It’s an enjoyable way to work out.

    Back to your original question…It sounds like you really need just some sort of tracking system that keeps track of participants cumulative mileage.  You could then “reward” them by emailing them photos of what they would have seen on the LT as they reach certain milestones.  How many participants will you have?  If it’s not too many they could just email you their progress and you could enter it in a spreadsheet.

    If it’s more than that, it looks like might meet your needs.  You could create a “Team” for the LT and have each person create an account and attach themselves to your LT Team so you could see everyone.  I’m sure there are other options – I just Googled “Runner mileage log website” and that came up.

    BPL Member


    Locale: The West is (still) the Best

    You can use the Google Earth app and an appropriate KML file iirc.

    For about every trail out there, there’s a KML file that will overlay the terrain.  It was neat until I found myself zooming on every large shrub instead of … hiking.

    Rex Sanders
    BPL Member


    Depends on your definition of a virtual hike. I imagined a first-person view of hiking down the trail, like Google Streetview but for hikers.

    I tried to create virtual hikes like that several years ago with Google Maps and Google Earth.

    Streetview works OK on a few very popular trails, but the Long Trail doesn’t seem to be on the list. Even a lot of Vermont roads are missing. Otherwise, wrestling with Google Maps gets old fast, and Google keeps removing Maps features that make setting up virtual hikes feasible.

    Google Earth can give you a low-flying bird’s eye view, but in dense forests I couldn’t see the trail, and it’s nothing like actually hiking or running down the path.

    But it seems like you want more of a progress-tracking virtual hike web site, with some photos along the way. No experience.

    You might be able to pull geolocated photos from Google Maps and a few other photo-sharing web sites to plop into a tracking site. Respecting copyright, of course.

    — Rex

    Gerry V
    BPL Member


    Thank you all for your thoughts.  I wish I was savvy enough to create something pulling together some of the sources mentioned for a visual experience.  I was definitely thinking more along the lines of a progress tracking site.  I have googled myself quite a rabbit hole and everything I have found is designed for fundraising and costs or is not quite what I was imagining.

    I think my best bet might just be as Kevin mentioned to create my own spreadsheet and monitor people’s progress maybe sending out some pictures or recognition along the way to keep folks interested.  I had hoped for something a little more set it and forget it but on the off chance lots of folks sign up it will be a good problem (time-wise) to have if it encourages physical activity and some sense of community in these strange times we are in.

    Thanks again!

    Michael B
    BPL Member


    You can create groups on Strava. Then you can keep track of weekly progress for everyone who has joined the group. There is a graph on the group page showing everyone’s progress, but it is limited to activities tracked by GPS. I am not sure if that is what you are looking for.

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