Niagara Falls is the most visited waterfall in the world and it is normally rated within the top 5 on most list of best waterfalls of the world. Niagara Falls is located on the Niagara River that flows from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.
Niagara Falls is actually made up of three separate falls, the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and the Canadian Falls (also known as Horseshoe Falls). The American and Bridal Veil falls are separated from the Canadian falls by Goat Island which is shown in the photo below. The American Falls and Bridal Veil falls are on the left and the Canadian Falls is on the right.
The American Falls and Bridal Veil fall are the smaller waterfalls. They are 1060 feet wide and 176 feet high but the base is only 70 feet high because of the rocks at the bottom of the falls. The volume of the water flowing over these falls is 150,000 gallons per second.
The American waterfall is the largest portion of Niagara Falls that is located within the United States and Bridal Veil waterfall is the small that can be seen on the far right of the three photos below.
To experience the power of the waterfall a series of wooden walkways named cave of the winds brings you to the base of the gorge onto Hurricane Deck which is within feet of the Bridal Veil Falls. Hurricane deck gives you the opportunity to feel tropical storm conditions but unlike being in a tropical storm, you can walk away when you want to.
If you want to view the falls without feeling like you have taken a shower then Observation Tower. The observation deck extends out over the gorge allowing you to view both the American and Canadian Fall at the same time.
Don’t leave when the sun goes down because there is just as much to see at night as during the day. After it gets dark, the waterfall is lit with multicolored lighting. The lights change color with single colors and sometimes multiple colors like Red, White and Blue seen in the photo below.
Light is projected from the Canadian side of the Niagara River onto the American Falls to make the falls change colors. This is shown in the next two photos.
The Canadian Falls is much larger that the American Falls. It 2600 feet wide and 167 feet high with a volume of the water flowing over the falls of 600,000 gallons per second. It is easy to see why it is called Horseshoe Fall because it is in the shape of a horseshoe.
Similar to the American Falls, you can experience the Canadian fall up close but instead of being on the side of the fall you can actually go right into the center of the horseshoe by taking a boat up the Niagara River. The boat will take you right into the heart of the waterfall. If you wonder how wet you will get then look at the photo above and the two below. It’s a good thing they provide rain coats!
The boats can be taken from either Canada or The United States. On the Canada side the boat that can be taken is named the “Hornblower” and on the U. S. side the boat is named the “Maid of the Mist”. The boats are constantly going back and forth taking full boats of passengers into the mist of the falls.
If getting soaked by the waterfall isn’t for you then it is easy to walk right up to the edge of the falls where you can feel the power of the 600,000 gallons of water per second rushing over the edge of a cliff and crashing at the bottom after a 160 feet drop. It really is something that can only be experienced in a few place on earth.
As you can imagine, when so much water collides with an immovable force something has to give. Horseshoe Falls creates a cloud of mist that rises up over the falls and depending on the wind it can be blown onto the bank of the river. On a sunny day, the sun will create a rainbow in the cloud mist that can be seen from almost anywhere along the river. The photos below shows one rainbow on Horseshoe Falls and one on the American falls.
The best aerial view of both falls without flying over them is from the Skylon Tower. The Skylon Tower provides a 360 degree view of the Niagara Falls from 775 feet above the street level. Buying a ticket allow all day access to the observation level which lets you view the falls during the day and then again at night.
Just like the American Falls, the Canadian Falls are lit with multi-colored lights at night that change colors in a rotation. The cloud mist that the falls produces blocks the light in some places but the lighting makes the falls pretty at night and allows the falls to be enjoyed just as much at night as it is during the day.
The lights that are projected onto the Canadian Falls are located on the Canada side of the Niagara River but in order to light the entire horseshoe the lights must shine through the cloud mist of the waterfall. The light intended for the waterfall also lights the cloud mist causing an eerie effect that looks similar to the aurora borealis during some of the colors. This effect is shown in the following photos.
In addition to the nightly illumination of the falls on the weekends during the summer free live performances can be enjoyed from 8 PM until 10 PM when the fireworks show begins. The concerts are performed on an outdoor stage in view of the Horseshoe Falls. The performance feature local artists from a variety of musical genres ranging from county to classic rock. The photos below show what looks like rain in the stage lights but it is actually mist coming from fallout of Horseshoe Falls.
Some of the waterfalls that I have been to have been remote and took a lot of effort to get a chance to see the waterfalls. This is not the case with Niagara Falls. The area around Niagara Falls is overgrown with tourism. There are so many things to see and do that it could be easy to get distracted and forget about seeing the waterfall.
If you can filter out the crowds of people and all of the distractions and focus on the main attraction of Niagara Falls then you can enjoy one of the best waterfalls in the world. Niagara Falls truly is spectacular!
The things that I have included in this post are all things that I think add to the experience of being at Niagara Falls. Being engulfed by the mist coming off the falls on the Hurricane Deck or on one of the boats that go into the heart of Horseshoe Falls allows you to get up-close and personal with the falls. The observation tower and the Skylon Tower lets you see the waterfalls from above.
I really enjoy the artificial lighting on the falls at night. I think that it makes the waterfalls a different experience at night than during the day. I also liked the summer concert series and the fireworks show. I think being at a concert or watching a fireworks show with a spectacular attraction as a backdrop really adds to the experience of the main attraction.
My favorite experience of being at Niagara Falls was standing at the edge of Horseshoe Falls next to an amazing display of power by an awesome force of nature. Standing there so close to something that powerful and not only watching the force of the water rushing past me but also hearing the loud thunder of the water crashing on the rock below which was impacting so hard that I could actually feel the force.