Google Earth Maps

See through a hawk’s eyes how a Land Trust trail runs along a mountain ridge…

Give the Google Earth KML file of our trails a test run. You may want to print this instruction page. Comments invited. Special thanks to Board Member David Young for this wonderful addition to our website.


In order to use the KML file available on this website, you first need to have Google Earth on your computer. Google Earth is a free three-dimensional viewing tool.

If you do not have Google Earth, go to, download and setup the client viewing software. Setup runs an InstallShield wizard. On the first dialog box, select the Next button. Read and accept the license agreement, then click on Next. The installation will run, upon completion the Finish dialog displays. Uncheck any of the options on this dialog you don’t want (uncheck all is recommended), and press Finish button.

You may open the 2011 Land Trust of North Alabama (KMZ) by clicking on the link, or you can download it by right-clicking on the link and saving the file to your computer. Note: a KMZ file is a compressed version of a KML file.

To open the KMZ file after saving it, double-click the file, or drag and drop it over the Google Earth icon on your desktop. Or select the file, right-click and select Open. ( Note: The current file is dated December 21, 2011. This file will be periodically updated. )

Once the environment is opened, for best viewing of The Land Trust of Huntsville & North Alabama Preserves, you will need to change some of the Google Earth settings.

1. In the ‘Places’ control, you should turn off all entries in ‘My Places’ and any other temporary places besides The Land Trust entry. Uncheck entries to be turned off in the display.

2. In the ‘Layers’ control, be sure that ‘Terrain’ is checked on.

3. Select Tools>Options from the drop-down menus at the top of the window. Select View tab in the Options dialog. In this tab, there is a setting for Elevation Exaggeration. If you plan on using three dimensional viewing, a value of 2 is recommended.

4. To use your mouse to move around the surface, and to access 3D mouse tips, see Such cool views – you can be a bird and skim above the treetops!

5. In the Places control, you can double click on specific trails, preserves, trailheads, etc., to jump to that location. The map item you click will fit in the view, but the balloon tag may not actually touch the map item. The location pointed to by the balloon tag is the center of the graphic for the map item. For a curving trail, the tag may be misleading. In the case of trails, or any other map items, Google Earth version 4.2.0181.2634 and higher have a transparency slider in the Places legend contain (center of left side). Moving the slider will cause the trail or other map item to fade in and out of view. Also the Places legend entry for each trail includes a color icon that will match the color of the trail.