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10 Awesome Views That Will Leave You In Awe

There is no shortage of locations in the world that provide travellers with awesome views.  From peering out from city observation decks to taking in the beauty of nature to soaring high above the treetops, over the years I’ve had the privilege of visiting some pretty incredible sites around the world.

Here is a list of 10 Awesome Views that have left me in awe, and I know will do that same for you!

CN Tower – Toronto, Canada

I have to kick off this list with an engineering marvel located right in my own backyard.  It’s still amazing to me that I have the ability to look out from my deck and see the CN Tower dominating the skyline of Toronto.  I’ve even had the chance to scale the 1,776 steps inside the tower for charity a few years ago!

Towering over the rest of the city, the CN Tower is 553.33m (1,815ft5in) tall.  When the building was completed April 2, 1975 it stood as the World’s Tallest Free-Standing Structure – an honour it would hold for an incredible 32 year run until surpassed by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE in 2007.  The CN Tower remains the tallest free-standing structure in the western hemisphere.

In 1995, the American Society of Civil Engineers classified the CN Tower as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.  Today, Southern Ontario enjoys some of the best radio, television, wireless paging and cellular telephone reception thanks to the CN Tower’s antenna.

The CN Tower has three public observation areas: the Indoor Lookout Level at 346 m (1,135 ft), the Outdoor Observation Terrace (at the same level as the famous Glass Floor) at 342 m (1,122 ft), and the SkyPod that stands at 447 m (1,467 ft).  You will have a great vantage point for all of the Greater Toronto Area, and on a clear day you can easily see across Lake Ontario to Niagara-on-the-Lake, and even view the Allegheny Mountain Range in New York and Pennsylvania.

Grand Canyon West Skywalk – Arizona, USA

When most people think of the Grand Canyon they immediately turn to the North or South rims, but the Hualapai Indian tribe has set out to change that.  Grand Canyon West is located on their lands and offers some pretty awesome views at 2 sightseeing points: Eagle Point and Guano Point.

At Eagle Point the Hualapai have built an incredible engineering marvel called the Grand Canyon Skywalk.  This horseshoe-shaped cantilever bridge allows visitors to walk beyond the canyon walls, on a glass-floor walkway suspended 4,000 feet above the riverbed!

Opening to the public on March 28, 2007, the Skywalk is 25m (65 feet) wide and extends 21m (70 feet) out from the canyon wall.  The glass deck is 3.1m (10 feet) wide, and was designed for a 100-pound-per-square-foot (490 kg/m²) live load along.  It could carry 822 people that weigh 200 pounds (91 kg) each without over-stress, but maximum occupancy at one time is 120 people.  Glass walls surround the deck on each side, also made of glass and standing 1.5m (5 feet) tall.  The entire structure was built to withstand high winds and can even withstand an 8.0 magnitude earthquake within 80km (50 miles).

As though the awesome views of the Grand Canyon weren’t enough, when you’re out on the Skywalk you’re taken to another level!  It truly is an incredible experience, though not for the faint of heart.

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway – Queensland, Australia

In Queensland, Australia there is an ancient tropical rainforest packed full of beauty and wonder.  One of the best ways to experience this region is the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway!

The Skyrail is a 7.5km gondola ride between Smithfield and Kuranda, and it’s an excellent excursion from nearby Cairns.  Gliding along in comfortable 6-person gondolas, just metres above the rainforest canopy, you’ll have awesome views of the entire region.

The trip includes stops at 2 rainforest mid-stations, Red Peak and Barron Falls, giving you the ability to explore the depths of the rainforest on foot.  An incredible experience – you never know what foliage and wildlife you’ll stumble upon!

A one-way trip will take you 1½ hours (including stops at the mid-stations), while a return trip can be done in 2 ½ hours.  However, you’ll want to allow for more time to explore the village of Kuranda, a great place to check out locally-make arts and crafts, and have lunch.

You are welcome to return to Smithfield using the Skyrail, but I’d highly recommend you take the option of riding the Kuranda Scenic Railway.  The train snakes its way along 35km (23 mi) in just under 2 hours, including stops at the breathtaking Barron Falls lookout.  This and many other awesome views along the way will make this experience one of those that you never tire of talking about!

Hot Air Balloon Ride – Las Vegas, USA

When I first started visiting Las Vegas, I never dreamed that one of my favourite experiences would be soaring over the desert in a hot air balloon.  But that’s exactly what has happened!

We’ve had the chance to take this trip twice with Vegas Balloon Rides, and highly recommend it to everyone!  I’ve outlined the details of these experiences in a past post so I won’t repeat them here.  I would like to point out that each flight is a completely unique experience.  The direction and speed of the wind on any particular day will determine the direction and distance you’ll travel.  It’s incredibly exhilarating! These experiences have peaked our interest in other hot air balloon activities around the world (as well as inquiring about getting our own pilots licenses).

Balloon rides provide awesome views of the surrounding area, soaring anywhere from just above the treetops to 2500 feet.  In Las Vegas you’ll have spectacular views of the Red Rock Mountains, the Las Vegas Strip, and far beyond!

Helicopter Ride – Niagara Falls, Canada

A few years ago my sister and I joined our grandmother in checking off a bucket list item for her milestone birthday.  We took the 9 minute, 27km helicopter ride over Niagara Falls, and it was incredible!

On a clear day you’ll have awesome views of Toronto to the north, and the shores of Lake Erie to the south.  You can literally watch one Great Lake spilling into another!

Soaring high above the rapids and waterfalls, you’ll have a thrilling view of the natural and man-made wonders of Niagara Falls.  Shortly after takeoff you’ll see the Sir Adam Beck Generating plant, then follow the Niagara River over the Whirlpool Rapids and past the Rainbow Bridge.  Notice the beauty of Queen Victoria Park as you approach the American Falls and Skylon Tower.  Stare in awe at the incredible Canadian Horseshoe Falls as you hover above the summit, before leveling off and returning to base.

The Alps – Switzerland

If you read my recent 2-part post about hiking in the Swiss Alps, you’ll understand why anything I write about amazing views MUST include this region.  If you happened to miss those posts, you can check out Part 1 and Part 2 here.

The Swiss Alps are absolutely stunning, and I’d highly recommend you take any opportunity to visit.  There are multiple ways to explore this vast region – we opted for rail, cablecar, and hiking.  The famous GoldenPass Line is the perfect way to enter the region, leaving you glued to its panoramic windows.

Staying in the Lauterbrunnen Valley we were blessed with the ability to enjoy amazing views from the peaks on both sides: Männlichen to the east and Schilthorn to the west.  On clear days you’ll easily see neighbouring villages, towns, and even countries!

Lauterbrunnen Hiking

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Lauterbrunnen hiking

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Lauterbrunnen Hiking

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Gateway Arch – St Louis, USA

If you’re visiting St. Louis, Missouri you can’t help but marvel at the Gateway Arch. From the ground it’s an imposingly beautiful structure, standing on the west bank of the Mississippi River.

The Gateway Arch stands as tall as it is wide at 630 feet (192m).  Originally opened in 1967, it serves as a monument to Thomas Jefferson’s role in championing the Louisiana Purchase and sending Lewis and Clark on their westward expedition.

There are 16 small windows on each side of the observation deck to allow visitors awesome views of the city and surrounding area.  On a clear day you’ll be able to see St Louis landmarks like Busch Stadium, Union Station, and the Budweiser Brewery, as well as up to 30 miles in either direction.

As a visitor you are encouraged to spend as much time in the observation deck as you’d like, but the approximate time of a complete trip is 45 minutes.

Empire State Building – New York, USA

It took me 3 trips to New York City before I visited the Empire State Building.  With all the famous sights and landmarks it’s tough to fit everything into any 1 trip!  As soon as I glimpsed the awesome views from the observation deck on the 86th floor it immediately became clear why this is one of the most visited lookouts in the world.

The Empire State Building is a 102-story skyscraper located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City (on 5th Avenue between 33rd and 34th Streets).  The observation decks on the 86th and 102nd floors offer visitors unobstructed 360° views of New York City and beyond.  Everything from the Statue of Liberty to Central Park is suddenly within reach!

Officially opened in 1931, the Empire State Building stood as the world’s tallest building at 443m (1454 feet) for nearly 40 years until the original World Trade Center’s north tower was built in 1970.  It’s still considered one of the greatest engineering achievements in America’s history.

Las Vegas Stratosphere – Nevada, USA

Located at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip is the Stratosphere: a casino resort with an observation tower 1149 feet tall.  It gives you awesome views of the ever-changing Strip below.  Each time I make the trip to the indoor/outdoor viewing platforms I’m amazed at just how different the views are down below.

The Stratosphere is the tallest freestanding tower in the United States, and second only to the CN Tower in the Western Hemisphere.  During construction, FAA regulations saw the proposed height shrink to it’s current height due to concerns regarding interference with the nearby McCarran International Airport.

Opening in 1996, the Stratosphere continues to push the envelope, currently offering 4 thrill-rides at its summit for the more adventurous among your group.

The Stratosphere is annually voted one of the best places to view the Vegas Strip, but it’s 360° views of the surrounding area are what will keep you coming back for more!

Otway Fly Tree Top Walk – Great Ocean Road, Australia

Driving along the Great Ocean Road in Australia it’s difficult to rank all of the spectacular sights you’ll see, but the Otway Fly Tree Top Walk has to be on everyone’s list of places to stop and enjoy!

Starting at ground-level you’ll quickly find yourself high among the treetops in the Otway Rainforest, surrounded by Myrtle Beech, Blackwood and Mountain Ash trees.  The entire experience is about 2km long, featuring a 600m long 25m high steel structured treetop canopy walkway, complete with a thrilling cantilever and 45m high lookout tower!

This is the longest and tallest walkway of its kind in the world, and the amazing views from deep within the rainforest are something you’ll never forget!  Be sure to keep your eyes open for the resident duckbill platypus in the deep undergrowth and meandering streams.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey through 10 of the most awesome views I’ve had the opportunity to experience in my travels.

Where have you visited that you’d add to this list?  I’d love to know in the comments below!

How I Pixel It
Experience the World. In Pixels
bruce@howipixelit.com

“I show people how to travel better, easier and smarter.  Create your rich experiences … and capture the moments that matter!”

PS. If You’d LOVE to TRAVEL EASIER, SMARTER and have MORE FUN, email me at bruce@howipixelit.com

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