The falls have, by now, become almost a social parody: The cities that surround them (especially on the American side), rather tawdry tourist traps. But for all derision, the falls and the downstream rapids continue to be beautiful, powerful and even awe-inspiring. So, whenever we’re in the area, we try to find time to partake in at least some of the many opportunities to experience this force of nature. We, for example:
Always, view the falls from both sides and from Rainbow Bridge and stop at a number of viewing areas over the lower gorge.
We have also:
- Viewed the U.S. (American and Bridal Veil) and the Canadian (Horseshoe) Falls from below via a half-hour Maid of the Mist boat tour; and
- Experienced Horseshoe Falls from behind and beneath, by taking the elevator down through Goat Island to the Cave of the Winds, where we got soaked on the appropriately named Hurricane Deck; and
- Learned the geology and history of the area in the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center.
This trip, in addition to our traditional scenic stops, also:
- Walked the White Water Walk (Canadian side), descending an elevator to the base of the lower gorge where we walked the 1,000 foot path alongside the powerful rapids;
- Explored Queen Victoria Park’s (Canadian Side) panoramic views of all three falls, the spectacular close-up views of Horseshoe Falls and lovely floral displays; and
- Briefly toured Power Vista (American Side), with its views 350 feet down to the river and of the power stations on both sides and its visitor center with more than 50 exhibits that explain the history and operation of the hydroelectric station that generates much of the power used by upstate New York and Lower Ontario.
But, although our brief 1.5-hour stop did allow us to do most of what we wanted, we did miss (due as much to the vagaries of access to the Robert Moses Parkway and road construction as to limited time) a chance to even get to, much less begin hiking the gorge trails.