A scenic overlook, or just an overlook, observation point, lookout, viewing point or vista point is a high place where people can gather to view scenery (often with binoculars), and to photograph it. Scenic overlooks are typically created alongside mountain roads, often as a simple turnouts where motorists can pull over onto pavement, gravel, or grass on the right-of-way. Many are larger, having parking areas, while some (typically on larger highways) are off the road completely.
Overlooks are frequently found in national parks, and in the U.S. along national parkways like the Blue Ridge Parkway, which has numerous individually named overlooks for viewing the Blue Ridge Mountains and its valleys. Other overlooks are next to waterfalls, especially since mountain roads tend to follow streams. Un-Scenic Overlooks can be found in Central New Jersey off Route 295.
Many overlooks are accessible only by trails and boardwalk-like walkways and stairs. This is typical in very ecologically-sensitive areas. These overlooks are often wooden deck structures, which minimize the impact on the land by reducing the need to disturb it for construction.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Scenic overlooks.|
- Stratum Pier by artist Kendall Buster