36

A fairly simple question: from what single point could you see the most US states? It seems like it should be a popular tourist attraction.

  • 70
    The International Space Station? But it is still very expensive as a tourist attraction. – mouviciel Jan 5 '15 at 10:48
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    I assume this means at ground level, not from a plane or from space :) – Mark Mayo Supports Monica Jan 5 '15 at 11:07
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    10,000km orbit, point halfway between Hawaii and LA. All 50 states and possessions like Puerto Rico in view. Guam just visible on the western horizon. If you skip Guam, 10,000km over Phoenix gives a good view of the whole works, plus Canada and Mexico. No gift shop. – Paul Jan 5 '15 at 11:31
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    For a cheaper option that doesn't require astronaut training, flying at a high altitude somewhere between about NYC and New Haven, CT should cover about 13 states. High altitude flight over East Tennessee should cover 9 or so. – reirab Jan 5 '15 at 17:12
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    You don't have to go to the ISS, just watch its new video stream. – John Jan 6 '15 at 20:07
56

Mt Greylock, the highest point of Massachusetts provides a view of at least 5 states.

  1. Vermont
  2. New Hampshire
  3. New York
  4. Massachusetts
  5. Connecticut

Hiking to the top gives one a sense of real accomplishment and the 360 degree vistas are your well earned rewards. North into Vermont/New Hampshire, south into lower Mass./northern Connecticut, east towards Boston, west into the Adirondacks of New York State.

Information comes from berkshirehiking.com

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    Same from Mt. Washington somewhat to the northeast, with Maine taking the place of Connecticut. And you can also see Quebec from there. – Plutor Jan 5 '15 at 15:42
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    I've never been to the USA, so I'll take your word for that. – Phil M Jones Jan 5 '15 at 15:48
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    That beats the Four Corners, but I think it's less well known than the Four Corners (perhaps because it involves hiking?). – phyrfox Jan 5 '15 at 16:58
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    @Plutor That depends very much on the weather. Much of the time you won't be able to see the bottom of the mountain, let alone Maine! – Michael Hampton Jan 6 '15 at 22:14
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    @phyrfox The fame of the four corners has less to do with being able to see four states (as other answers note, that's surprisingly common), as it does to do with being able to stand in four states. – LessPop_MoreFizz Jan 8 '15 at 6:46
24

Rock City, Lookout Mountain, GA. There were signs all over the Midwest (and probably South, and East, etc) for decades that claimed you could see seven states from Lookout Mountain, GA.

I honestly doubt this was ever the case, but the jury may still be out.

  • I'm not sure about 7, but you can definitely see at least 4 from there and probably 5 (definitely TN, GA, AL, and NC, probably also SC.) The other two claimed are KY and VA, but the claim is being able to see peaks located in those states, so that might actually also be true. The article is off on its distances. NC is about 58 miles from the sign and SC is about 115. You can almost certainly see 58 miles. 115 might be a stretch. The VA/KY/TN point of intersection is about 146 miles. Seeing the surface there is unlikely, but seeing a peak is plausible if the view is unobstructed. – reirab Jan 5 '15 at 17:02
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    @reirab Seeing peaks at 115 miles in extremely clear weather is certainly possible. I've been in northern Iceland (Akureyri) where the air is very pure and on a clear day I could easily see the glaciers of the Vatnajökul massive and the mountains along its southern edge beyond that. Those mountains lay in a wide arc at almost exactly 115 miles from Akureyri. The view from Reykjavik (Perlan hill) over the water to Snaefellsjökull is 70 miles. Seeing the ground from ground-level is not possible due to curvature of the earth. But a little elevation (< 1/4 mile on both sides) is enough. – Tonny Jan 5 '15 at 20:20
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    @Tonny Oh, yes, I've certainly seen peaks much farther than 115 miles away before (I've seen peaks over 200 miles away from the ground in the Western U.S.) I was just saying I wasn't sure if it's possible from this particular peak, since it's only about 2,300 ft. and there are other mountains and plateaus in between that could potentially block the view. – reirab Jan 5 '15 at 21:05
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    Which 7 states? – Evorlor Jan 7 '15 at 19:38
18

The four corners area would be one spot where you would be guaranteed to see four states (New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado). It already is a tourist attraction.

Perhaps there may be a spot in the Appalachian Mountains in southern part of New Hampshire or Vermont, where on a really clear day you might be able to see five states. But this is just a guess based on topography.

13

While Four Corners would be the only one where 4 states visibility is guaranteed, on a clear day you can see 4 states from the Skydeck of Willis (Sears) Tower in Chicago:

On a clear day, you can see four states – Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan. Visibility from the Skydeck is approximately 40-50 miles (65 – 80 kilometers).

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    Isn't Wisconsin more than 50 miles from downtown Chicago? It takes more than an hour on I-94 to get to the border. – Chuu Jan 6 '15 at 18:53
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    @Chuu Consider straight line for visibility vs. the interstate. Bristol Renaissance Faire is 53 miles from Downtown Chicago. – Karlson Jan 6 '15 at 18:56
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    Indeed. I-94 takes a long detour west when it becomes a tollway. – Joe Jan 8 '15 at 16:52
  • On the observation deck, at 412 m above ground level, the horizon is between 45 and 50 miles away from the base of the tower. Depending on the local topography, that comment about Wisconsin being 50 miles away IS relevant! – jvriesem May 21 '15 at 7:35
  • @jvriesem In what context? The topography of the area is basically completely flat. – Karlson May 21 '15 at 12:32
8

The Four Corners Monument...

The Navajo Nation cordially welcomes you to one of our most unique landmarks - The Four Corners. This is the only place in the United States where four states intersect at one point: Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. This location is very remote as you will experience when visiting.

The original marker erected in 1912 was a simple cement pad, but has since been redone in granite and brass. The Visitor Center is open year round, and features a Demonstration Center with Navajo artisans. Navajo vendors sell handmade jewelry, crafts and traditional Navajo foods nearby.

Source: http://www.navajonationparks.org/htm/fourcorners.htm

Also see the Wiki article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Corners_Monument

7

If you consider a man-made tower there was Wonder Tower in Genoa, Colorado (now closed) in Eastern Colorado that you could see 6 States - Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, New Mexico and South Dakota:

http://ourjourney.info/MyJourneyDestinations/WonderTower.asp

http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2050

  • As of 2018, it looks like this is open again. – Jim MacKenzie May 18 '18 at 16:39
6

From the top of Mt Rogers (highest point VA) in ideal viewing conditions, one can see 5 states; VA, WV, KY, TN & NC

The furthest is KY about 70 miles away.

Mt rogers is a very popular spot for hikers (on the Appalachian trail) and horse riders, but no road access.

4

From the International Space Station you can see all 50 states at once. It is a tourist destination but ticket prices are... astronomical.

Related question on Space.SE:
How could I travel to space as an ordinary citizen?

2

There is a point in Western Oklahoma, near Boise City that is within 30 miles of five different states. If you were about 500 feet above the ground there, you'd be able to see Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Colorado.

A quick glance at Google Street View shows no skyscrapers, but small hills, probably less than 500 feet tall.

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