Lookout Point Park
Lookout Point Park
5
Observation Decks & Towers
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12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Monday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Tuesday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Wednesday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Thursday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Friday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Saturday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Sunday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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5.0
24 reviews
Excellent
23
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1
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Pellaz2112
Auburn, GA231 contributions
Jun 2021
This is an excellent railroad park for train watchers to watch trains pass on BNSF Railway's southern transcontinental route, a busy rail artery with 50-70 trains per day, including Amtrak's Southwest Chief twice.

Currently the park consists of a sheltered overlook or "lookout" with an open deck to watch trains pass by, accessible by a dirt road from the back of the Mexican restaurant on Brown Street. There is a heater inside the building as well as an ATCS Monitor dispatcher display showing train locations along the subdivision from Fort Madison over to near Kansas City. There is also a live-streaming camera operated by Virtual Railfan mounted above the deck; the two other cameras at the Amtrak station 1,000 feet west of the lookout are likely the most popular livestreaming railroad cameras in the world. The lookout is accessible 24 hours.

The park also includes an open field for future expansion, including the transfer of two Amtrak boxcars for continued use as an Amtrak history museum (the railroad tracks for these have already been completed) and moving and reconstruction of an historic train depot, which has already been acquired. The site is close (walkable distance) to the Depot Inn and Suites, which is itself a great destination for railfans.

In short, this is a great place for railroad enthusiasts to watch a busy, vital rail link. Highly recommended!
Written June 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Terri W
7 contributions
Aug 2021
If you love trains, this is the place to visit. There is a good sized deck to watch the trains fly by from above. There are two chairs to sit on, (we brought our own). There is plenty of room for several people to watch. There is a small cabin with a table & chairs so you can view the trains and be out of any weather that might be happening. Inside the cabin a monitor that actually shows you where the trains are and if any are close. You can also hear the scanner for the trains as well. This is a train fans heaven.
Written September 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Karen V
Pella, Iowa162 contributions
Sep 2020
We enjoyed the easy way to see trains come into town from both directions. many people had written /signed the walls inside, there was no pen there, and we had none with us. Could not really figure out the screen telling about when trains coming tho! Nice location and pathway to get to it.
Written September 30, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Richard S
Jewell, IA116 contributions
Aug 2017 • Couples
This is a fantastic spot to watch FAST freight action. Bidirectional running, meets, long-long trains (some over 15,000 feet) with mostly BNSF color with some UP, NS and lease units tossed in. Amtrak's Southwest Chief makes a morning eastbound stop about 10AM while its counterpart west stops about 20:00. For a town of 1,300, this is a busy little art-deco station. Still with some Santa Fe markings, the usual Amtrak attendants are Bob and Amy Cox: great people. Two additional bonuses: The Depot Inn and Suites is an excellent stay: we know for we have stayed there I believe 13 times. Wonderful hosts. Also, almost next door is an excellent Mexican Restaurant, La Pachanga. Be there on a Wednesday night and enjoy fantastic margaritas. Wow.

The Lookout Point Park viewing booth is located south of the Motel and the Restaurant ON the former Wabash Right-of-Way from Moberly to Des Moines.

Enjoy!!
Written October 5, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

amynaat
Fairfield, IA3 contributions
Sep 2017 • Couples
This rail lookout cabin is fully enclosed and heated. ATCS monitor shows approaching trains from dozens of miles away. There are approx. 80 trains passes everyday from this BNSF/Amtrak Southwest Chief line.There is also free WiFi available for visitors to use.
Written October 1, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Bill K
Hyde Park, NY45 contributions
Sep 2017 • Friends
Nice setup with small building , scanner
Feed, display of railroad traffic lights
In the evening. Lots
Of railroad traffic.
Written September 29, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Pellaz2112
Auburn, GA231 contributions
Jun 2022
Lookout Point Park is a growing "railroad park." That might sound like an odd combination of words, but quite a few cities now have railroad parks or official train-watching areas for railfans to watch passing trains -- Horseshoe Curve in PA, Cordele GA, Fostoria OH, and several others.
In La Plata's case, the railroad park is sponsored by the American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation, a local non-profit, with plans to recondition two vintage Amtrak boxcars to serve (again) as a heritage museum. I visited as part of La Plata Rail Days, an annual railfan gathering, and the boxcars are now in place, on custom-built railroad tracks, and a vintage train depot in Illinois has also been acquired and will be moved to the property when funding allows. Future development also includes an RV parking area for visitors.

But the real gem of Lookout Point Park is....the Lookout! This is a enclosed shelter and exterior platform overlooking the busy railroad line that runs adjacent to the park, which sees 50-70 trains per day...many of them fast (60+ mph). The shelter includes a heater for cold weather and -- new since 2021! -- an overhead fan that helps a lot during summer months. There is also a radio present, tuned to the railroad frequency. Sadly, with the demise of ATCS monitoring along the RR line (which allowed trains to be tracked between the Mississippi River and Kansas City), the small monitor showing the ATCS display has been removed.
The Lookout is also home to Virtual Railfan's pan-tilt-zoom live-feed camera, and a sign advises visitors that conversations on the exterior platform are audible to viewers on YouTube -- sometimes hundreds of viewers at a time -- and are also recorded. Although the camera CAN point toward observers on the platform, it is not generally oriented that way unless platform viewers specifically request and authorize it it via the YouTube live-chat.
The Lookout is accessed via a gravel driveway at the back of D'Abolengo Mexican Restaurant on Brown Street, and there is parking for a few cars or golf-carts at the site. There is no charge for admission although donations are welcome and can be deposited on-site. The Lookout facility is open 24 hours.
I highly recommend it as a casual spot to watch trains on one of America's busiest and most vital railroad arteries, one of just a few transcontinental routes.
Written July 12, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Traintravel1
Peoria, Illinois34 contributions
Jul 2021
Not a far pleasant walk to the viewing of live trains. Easy to walk gravel path and nice building to take cover if it rains.
Written July 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Melissa B
3 contributions
Apr 2021
Wonderful place to see trains and you are out of the bad weather. Only thing that would make it better would be some kind of bathroom.
Written April 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jeff G
Springfield, MO6 contributions
Nov 2020
Fantastic place to sit and watch trains go by. Above the tracks and has a screen to show how close the trains are.
Written November 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Lookout Point Park (La Plata) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about Lookout Point Park

Lookout Point Park is open:
  • Sun - Sat 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM


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