One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A (frequently indirect or circuitous) route that offers good landscape views; (hence) an unnecessarily indirect or circuitous route.
2Figurative. A long or indirect means of reaching an objective, performing an action, etc. Frequently with the, especially in "to take the scenic route".
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Ottawa, Future Capital of Canada. From scenic + route.
scenic route/ˈsiːnɪk ˌruːt/
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