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Earth Day: Free apps put national parks in the palm of your hand

April 20, 2012|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • An image of Muir Inlet at Glacier Bay National Park from the Fotopedia National Parks app.
An image of Muir Inlet at Glacier Bay National Park from the Fotopedia National… (Q.T. Luong / Fotopedia )

Two apps that feature national parks have arrived just in time for Earth Day. And they're free, which goes nicely with the Saturday start of fee-free National Park Week. So download the app, pick a park to visit and go.

The deal: These apps are available to download to an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch (sorry, Android users and others, you're out of luck).

Fotopedia National Parks features photos taken with a large-format camera (which means super-sharp images) by Q.T. Luong during his wanderings at 58 national parks. The images are stunning, and slideshows are what really make this app pop. There also are little snippets of information on each park for quick reference, but no hikes or detailed info. You can e-mail photos, use them as wallpaper or just dream a little.

National Parks by National Geographic is a little mini-guide to 20 national parks with information on campgrounds and lodging, when to go, etc. Many of the parks featured are in the West: Joshua Tree, Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Bryce, Arches and two in Hawaii.

When: The free apps are available for download indefinitely.

Tested: I have to admit I got hooked on Fotopedia's slideshows. Don't be disappointed if your fave national parkland (there are almost 400) isn't here; the most iconic ones are Channel Islands, Joshua Tree, Death Valley, Sequoia-Kings Canyon, Lassen and Yosemite.

The National Geographic app also features in-depth guides that go beyond the free content that cost 99 cents to $1.99 each.

Contact: Fotopedia National Parks and National Parks by National Geographic.

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