How high are the Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls - a spectacular natural spectacle on the border with Canada

Do you remember the memorable scene in "Pirates of the Caribbean - At World's End", in which the crew approaches the end of the world, when vast amounts of roaring water thunder down into the depths? That was impressive, wasn't it? And that's what awaits you at the world-famous Niagara Falls, which served as a model for this film scene.

Table of Contents
General information about the Niagara Falls | Link between Canada and the USA | Luna and Goat Island - the islands at Niagara Falls | Magical attraction for artists, adventurers and daredevils | Tickets for Niagara Falls tours and activities | Niagara Falls for tourists | Worth knowing: Energy generation with the help of Niagara Falls


They are a rugged beauty, the Niagara Falls, an unbelievable force of nature and definitely a tourist attraction: the enormous masses of water that tumble from the cliffs with a loud roar and attract around 22 million visitors from all over the world every year.

The impressive natural spectacle in the east of the USA owes its name to the Native Americans, although it is not known exactly whether the Iroquois or the Mohawks are responsible for the name. While the name in the Iroquois language stands for "the place that divides the land", in the Mohawk language it corresponds to the word for "neck".

General information about Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls are the waterfalls of the Niagara River, which connects Lake Erie with Lake Ontario and through which the border between the US state of New York and the Canadian province of Ontario runs. Three gigantic rock cliffs - divided by the two islands of Goat and Luna Island - form the substructure of this impressive natural wonder and the basis for a total of three waterfalls over which around 6,400 cubic meters of water thunder down up to 57 meters per second. The largest and most impressive are the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side. Only ten percent of the water of the Niagara River flows through the American Falls, and even less through the Bridal Veil Falls. They owe their creation to a geological peculiarity.

Falling dry and freezing over Niagara Falls

In the past, it happened in 1848 that Niagara Falls became temporarily dry. It is also known that they were largely frozen over twice in the closer history, once in 1936 and once in 2015. The American Falls were purposely drained in 1969, when a geological survey was carried out.

map

Link between Canada and the USA

The border between the USA and Canada runs through the largest waterfall in Niagara Falls, which is 670 meters long, the Horseshoe Falls. The American Falls with an edge length of 260 meters and the Bridal Veil Falls are completely located in the United States of America.

Luna and Goat Island - the islands at Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is divided by two islands, Goat Island, the Goat Island, from which the second of the islands, Luna Island, can be reached.

Goat Island - the goat island at Niagara Falls

Goat Island is a small island in the Niagara River between Bridal Veil Falls and Horseshoe Falls. It is located on the southwest corner of the city of Niagara Falls on the US side and is part of the Niagara Falls State Park.

It owes its name to the pioneer and miller John Stedman, who stayed on the island with his goats 250 years ago, but who, apart from one goat, died there in a cold winter.

The island is uninhabited, but it is a popular destination for tourists visiting the waterfalls on American soil and exploring the various viewpoints, e.g. B. from Terrapin Point, admire. There are several hiking trails to explore the island. The predominantly forested goat island is connected to the mainland by two bridges. There is a connection to the smaller Luna Island via a pedestrian bridge.

Cave of the Winds

On Goat Island there is also the access to the wind cave "Cave of the Winds", which is located just behind the rushing curtain of water of the Bridal Veil Falls, which you can meet up close. The way to the cave is via an elevator.

  • opening hours: 9:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • price: $ 5 (rainwear is included)

Luna Island - the small moon island at Niagara Falls

Luna Island separates the central Bridal Veil Falls from the American Falls and offers the best view of the Bridal Veil Falls, the smallest of the three falls.

Magical attraction for artists, adventurers and daredevils

Due to its breathtaking beauty, the untamable power of the thundering water attracts numerous tourists as well as people who want to go to their limits and beyond and who recklessly plunge into the floods. Every second attempt ends fatally. For example, the attempt by the Briton Matthew Webb, who wanted to swim the whirlpool rapids above Niagara Falls in 1883.

Others survived falling into the floods. The first to survive a fall into Niagara Falls unaided was Kirk Jones on October 20, 2003. One of the better known who survived the wild ride in a barrel is teacher Annie Edson Tyler, who met on October 24 In 1901 he fell over the cliffs with suicidal intent to avoid the poor house after the death of her husband.

The men who set out to cross Niagara Falls on the rope were also daring. The first was the tightrope artist Jean François "Blondin" Gravelet in 1859. The Frenchman even carried his manager Harry Colcord on his back from time to time during his dances on the rope.

Tickets for tours and activities around Niagara Falls

Tickets for tours and activities around Niagara Falls can be found at www.getyourguide.de.

The Niagara Falls for tourists

Tourism around Niagara Falls began in 1800. The first tourist attractions were soon introduced, of which the legendary “Maid of the Mist” tours are the ones with the longest history.

Maid-of-the-Mist tours - with the boat up close to the spray

The boat trip is one of the most famous sights at Niagara Falls. The boat takes you on a twenty-minute tour along the Bridal Veil and American Falls directly into the roaring basin of the Horseshoe Falls, including wet showers. The latter are not completely absorbed by the free rain capes that are given out at the beginning of the journey.

“Maid of the Mist” was once just a ferry that ran between the USA and Canada. But when the first suspension bridge over the Niagara Gorge was opened there in 1848, a tourist attraction developed that has now become the second most famous boat trip in North America.

The boats depart on both the Canadian and the US side in a southerly direction from Rainbow Bridge. The US pier is in Niagara Falls State Park. On the Canadian side, the best place to park is at the Maid of the Mist Plaza. There you can also buy tickets for the boat trip.

Access to the boats is suitable for wheelchair users. There are no seats and no toilets on the ships. You have the most impressive experiences right on the railing.

The boats usually start operating from April or early May to the end of October. The starting point depends on the time the ice on the Niagara River melts. Therefore, if you are traveling to Niagara Falls in the spring, it is best to check in advance whether the Maid-of-the-Mist tours are already available.

The current timetables and prices can be found on the website. You can book tickets for the boat trip at GetYourGuide.

Table Rock - a wonderful view of the Horseshoe Falls

The horseshoe falls are the largest of the three falls and the main attraction. They reach from Table Rock to Terrapin Point on Goat Island and are one of the waterfalls with the largest amounts of water in the world. Around 90 percent of the Niagara River flows over this part of Niagara Falls, as the amount of water used to generate energy using hydropower was deliberately diverted.

When you stand at Table Rock and look into the thundering water, you feel the spray on your skin and, when the sun is shining, you can marvel at beautiful rainbows at the waterfalls. A real natural spectacle. The viewing platform at the foot of the falls is particularly beautiful. Through several tunnels, it is even possible to walk directly behind the falling water veils.

A walk over the Niagara Parkway to the Rainbow Bridge offers you many more great photo opportunities and if you want, you can cross a bridge to goat Island and Terrapint Point and experience Niagara Falls up close again. Another bridge leads from the goat island to Luna Island with a fantastic view of the Bridal Veil Falls.

And if you want to find out more about the natural wonder that was created 12,000 years ago, you should definitely visit the visitor center there. There are also many restaurants and shops at the tourist office, located 1.6 kilometers south of Rainbow Bridge.

The most beautiful observation towers at Niagara Falls

The two observation towers Konica Minolta Tower and Skylon Tower, which are almost opposite each other, offer a wonderful panoramic view of the falls, through which their immense extent becomes clear. Here you can admire Niagara Falls from above at a height of about 200 meters.

The better known of the two observation towers is the 236 meter high Skylon Tower, which on a clear day allows a view of Toronto on Lake Ontario and Buffalo on Lake Erie. The drive up is also worth a visit. In a glass elevator, visitors can quickly go up in 52 seconds. In addition to the family-friendly Summit Suite Buffet restaurant, there is also the revolving restaurant up there, which rotates around the entire tower within an hour and offers fine cuisine.

The viewing platform is one floor higher. Access is free for all those who have previously eaten in one of the restaurants.


IMAX cinema at the foot of the Skylon Tower

Down in the tower you can enjoy the 3D / 4D movie Legends of Niagara Falls, fun for the whole family. Children and young people should also have fun in the nearby family center, in which, in addition to rides and a food court, interactive games await the visitors of all ages. And if you want, you can also get hold of a souvenir or two in the shopping arcade of the tower.

Journey Behind the Falls - a trip behind the falls

The Journey Behind the Falls takes the visitor directly behind the mighty Horseshoe Falls during an expedition. Everything starts with a ride in the elevator. It goes 46 meters deep and you can immediately get an impression of the immense power of the thundering water that rushes down here. Several tunnels then lead to various viewpoints and the large, well-secured viewing platform on the west side of the falls. From there you have the opportunity to watch not only the waterfalls, but also the maid-of-the-mist boats, which bring their passengers as close as possible to the roaring masses of water. An absolutely worth seeing sight. Tickets for the Journey Behind the Falls are available here.

Access to the Journey Behind the Falls is via the Tourist Information Office at Table Rock and is open daily. You should definitely wear waterproof clothing, especially in winter.

Breathtaking view from above - the SkyWheel in Niagara Falls (Ontario)

In addition to the observation towers, the SkyWheel is another way to marvel at Niagara Falls from a bird's eye view. It is located in the Canadian city of Niagara Falls directly across from the American Falls and, with a height of 53 meters, offers a great view of the American and Horseshoe Falls and the Niagara River on every round. Underage visitors will certainly also enjoy the life-size dinosaur head at the SkyWheel and the mini golf course there. The ride in the SkyWheel takes about eight to twelve minutes. The attraction's 42 gondolas are air-conditioned. The trips are shorter on busy days. Tickets for the SkyWheel in Niagara Falls are available here.

Fireworks and lights - Niagara Falls at night

Since 1925, Niagara Falls can be admired in all colors of the rainbow every evening after sunset. On special occasions, the waterfalls are also illuminated in special colors.

In the summer, Niagara Falls also regularly hosts breathtaking fireworks shows. Queen Victoria Park offers the best view of it.

You can find the exact times here.

Hiking in the Niagara Falls area

The nature around Niagara Falls is scenic and there are many paths on the Niagara River that invite you to hike and, in contrast to those directly at the waterfalls, are only slightly overcrowded. A good starting point in the natural landscape is the car park of the Niagara Glen Nature Area, from which a steel staircase leads to Niagara and the hiking trails of the region.

Cities worth seeing in the vicinity of the waterfalls

Not too far from the falls, there are some cities that are worth a trip. The best known here are of course the cities of the same name, Niagara Falls. One of them is American and is located in the US state of New York, the other is Canadian and is located in the province of Ontario. But Niagara-on-the-Lake is also an attractive destination for tourists.

Niagara Falls, Ontario

Niagara Falls is a Canadian city with around 83,000 inhabitants and is located on the Niagara River across from Niagara Falls in New York State. The city is one of the major tourist destinations in North America and is fully dominated by its proximity to Niagara Falls, which is best seen from the Canadian shore. Niagara Falls has numerous hotels and other tourist accommodations, innumerable souvenir shops, casinos, and other amusement establishments with neon signs reminiscent of Las Vegas.

Niagara Falls (New York)

The US Niagara Falls is located in Niagara County in the US state of New York and is home to around 50,000 residents. The economy here is dominated by Niagara Falls, but the city offers fewer attractions for tourists. Niagara Falls is connected to New York City by an Amtrak-operated rail link and also to Toronto by a long-distance train.

Niagara-on-the-Lake

Niagara-on-the-Lake is located in Ontario at the confluence of the Niagara River with Lake Ontario and was designated a National Historic Site in 2003. It's a pretty town, far less crowded than Niagara Falls, which is about eight miles from Niagara Falls. In the midst of a wine-growing region, it is wonderful to stroll through the spruced up streets and get hold of a souvenir or two in the many small, well-stocked shops.

Worth knowing: Energy generation with the help of Niagara Falls

In the past, around 21 billion liters of water flowed over Niagara Falls every hour. Up to fifty percent of this (even more in the off-season) is now diverted to generate energy.