Our trip to Niagara Falls was amazing. We had a wonderful time exploring the area, walking on Goat Island, and seeing all three waterfalls that make up the Niagara Falls. The largest is Horseshoe Falls, here seen from the American side of the river. I remember reading about Frederick Law Olmstead’s role in the park’s creation, but I didn’t know that this is the oldest state park in America.
The power of the falls is stunning, and I had to do a short video to show the immense amount of water flowing and the roar as it goes by. The flow is stated as 675,000 gallons per second! This can rise to over 700,000 gallons per second at peak flow during the summer. It is estimated that the falls run at 68 miles an hour.
From another overlook on the American side, this is the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. Twenty percent of the world’s fresh water is contained in the Great Lakes and the flow over Niagara Falls. I was curious as to how this much water can continue to flow for years and years, so I looked it up. Here is the answer from the Niagara Falls tourism website –
“The water flows from streams and rivers that empty into the Great Lakes, from Lake Superior down through Niagara to Lake Ontario, then into the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean. Water always flows down to the sea, and the land slopes downward through the Great Lakes Basin from west to east – but the Niagara River actually flows north. Today less than one percent of the water of the Great Lakes is renewable on an annual basis (precipitation and groundwater). The rest is a legacy from the last ice age, or “fossil” water.”
Looking up the Niagara river, the power of the water and the beauty is apparent. Rapids churn up the water to white peaks. Fifty to 75 percent of the water flowing along the Niagara River is diverted to hydroelectric power generating stations, and doesn’t go over the falls.
Walking around Goat Island, there were many places to view the river. The deep green color is due to dissolved minerals.
All over the parks were flowers blooming. Variegated leaf hostas were blooming in white.
These white hydrangeas were gorgeous, too.
Next to them, these pink flowers were blooming. Several beds around the park had this combination.
Next to the walking paths, flower displays like this one were all along the way.
Around lunchtime, we crossed the border to the Canadian side. The views of the falls were wonderful from across the river. This is the American falls. The placard put the height of these falls at 167 feet.
We stopped at the overlook on the edge of Horseshoe Falls before taking the underground tour.
On the lower vantage point, you can see the water coming over the falls from below.
From here, the tour took us through the tunnels to two vantage points where visitors could get right up next to the falls from underneath. The power of the water flow was amazing. Standing for just a moment, the water would periodically splash into the portal, and yes, we got wet! Luckily we had ponchos.
One display showed the erosion of the falls over the last few hundred years. The engineers estimate that the falls erode about a foot to a foot-and-a-half per year.
Back to the top, we got one more look at Horseshoe before heading back to the USA.
After a wonderful Sicilian meal at a small restaurant, we went back to the falls to see the light show after dark. From the observation tower, we could see both falls and the light shows. Here, the American Falls is in white while Horseshoe is lit red.
Shortly after, the American Falls was lit up red. The light show went through green and blue as well, in about a five minute transition, then started over. After it was completely dark, there was a short fireworks show.
All in all an amazing place to visit. The beauty of our natural world is awe inspiring. Our generation owes a debt of gratitude to the visionaries who created our state and national parks to preserve this magnificence for generations to come.