YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK — A new web site — Virtual Yosemite — is now offering a virtual reality (VR) tour of Yosemite National Park and its surrounding areas.
The new site, which went live this summer, provides high resolution, 360-degree panoramic views from over 200 locations throughout the sprawling park.
Virtual Yosemite was created and photographed by pioneering VR photographer Scott Highton, who has specialized in Virtual Reality photography since the early 1990s.
Highton has spent significant time exploring Yosemite during his 40 years in California, including 15 years as a technical mountain rescue team member in the 1980s and 1990s.
He and his wife currently live part-time in Mariposa.
Highton is also the author of the ground-breaking 2010 book Virtual Reality Photography.
Highton’s VR Yosemite tour can be viewed interactively via the online site, which features ambient audio, captions, maps and a geographic index for navigation.
In addition, links to a variety of resources for park visitors, including hiking, lodging and transportation information are also available via the web site — https://www.virtualyosemite.org.
Nearby attractions outside of Yosemite’s borders are also included in the VR tour, including Mono Lake and Bodie State Park (an abandoned town and mining operation on the east side of the Sierras), as well as an up-close-and-personal view of the majestic Merced River Canyon.
Caption information is provided for every location, and online visitors can navigate from location to location via direct links, within each nearby panorama, or via location indexes and an onscreen map.
With its extensive coverage and high-quality imagery, the new web site is a landmark online VR project. The site’s landing page invites visitors to “explore the park like never before.”
“The site is a valuable tool for the four million annual visitors to Yosemite and its surrounding communities, not only for planning their visits, but for sharing immersive experiences of the locations they visited with family and friends afterward,” said Highton. “Our early online reviews have been very positive.”