Visiting Niagara Falls

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.

31 thoughts on “Visiting Niagara Falls

    1. Dorothy Nenstiel

      I am glad you enjoyed your visit and was able to see the beauty of the falls in person. I currently live in Virginia Beach Virginia but I was born and raised in Niagara Falls. I go home every few years to visit family.

  1. karenfae

    it is a beautiful sight to see isn’t it – I went some years ago and would love to see it again – we didn’t have a lot of time and didn’t see it from the Canadian side.

  2. Connie White

    Interesting and beautiful. We just returned from Yellowstone National Park and were told it was the oldest National Park ? Oh well both are gorgeous.

      1. We loved visiting Niagara Falls a few years ago! The amount of water and power of the falls is just astounding. You got some great photos! I love the ones from your underground tour and the lighting display at night – we didn’t get to see that. So glad you enjoyed that trip!

  3. Patricia Evans

    Niagara Falls is indeed majestic and awe inspiring. Even now, as I look at your photos, I can hear the roar of the water pouring over the falls. The pink bushes paired with the white hydrangeas are spirea.

  4. Carole, nice adventure. Thank you for sharing. It has been about 10 years since we went to the Falls. It is always a fun trip. This year the gas is astronomical I know it was an expensive trip. Your photos are exceptional

  5. Wow! You maxed out your time there and I learned so much from this post! I’m glad you took the tour — a friend and I did that once and it was fascinating. But your photos are especially magnificent! I’ve never seen it at night. In fact, I’ve only been there twice — once with my friend and once with Gina — where we something there you haven’t seen! I wrote about this before we found each other on FB so here’s the url. — now, if we could just combine experiences, though I think I would enjoy yours more!

  6. Julie

    Great job, Carole, sharing the sights & sounds of Niagara Falls. It’s fun staying overnight at one of the hotels with an overlook. At night they divert water for the hydropower plant. You can watch the river rise at breakfast. We have 2 waterfalls along the Genesee in the city of Rochester, another north flowing river. One year we took a scenic trip along the escarpment, stopping to visit many of small waterfalls along the way.

  7. Kathleen Kingsbury

    You were in my neck of the woods! This post is a great depiction of the falls. I have been to the American side only and rode on the Maid of the Mist and I was petrified!! Had my two young daughters with me. I am not a water person and really had no business being on that boat. I never experienced the tunnels though and probably never will. I’m a big chicken.

    1. We were lucky to visit Niagara Falls (from New Zealand) some years ago, and it was certainly a bucket list thing! We were returning home after a 3 month trip to UK, and had a stop over in New York – what an amazing city that was, and had arranged a 6 day coach trip to travel up to the falls and back.we were awestruck with the whole trip but the falls were certainly the highlight.
      Did you know that we have our own version of Niagara Falls here in NZ? There is a small river with tiny falls about a foot high, and were named Niagara by a visiting American way back when!

  8. Donna Hindle

    Carole, you gave one of the best commentary’s I have read. So glad you enjoyed the beauty of our falls and hoping you inspire others to come and enjoy it also. Thank you.

  9. Jean McKinstry

    For me, this would be the sight of a lifetime, nature and its raw unchanged glorious display. I, too, wondered how so much water kept coming, year after year. I so enjoyed all your photos, and the nighttime ones with lighting, magnificent.

  10. You captured the Falls well. We were there in 2000, going to a wedding in Canada. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit Niagara. Really awesome!

  11. I went to Niagara Falls as a child and remember how loud and beautiful it is! Your photos are gorgeous and I bet it was stunning at night, what a wonderful trip!

  12. I have enjoyed seeing all your photos. We were lucky enough to visit there 10 years ago and your post was like a trip down memory lane.

  13. Nancy L. Wells

    Thanks, Carole, for sharing these photos. I have not been there and won`t have that opportunity, so these photos gave some good perspective of the area, plus a drone video that came available while viewing your photos, so got to see the aerial views on a wider scale, as well. Really appreciated all of it because I really hadn`t seen pictures that showed alot of the area before.

  14. My favorite too. Been there twice. One time I visited with Sandra Walker (mmmquilts) and we saw the fireworks on July 1st, from the bridge connecting US and Canada. Visiting the Canadian side including a visit to a winery with her was an added bonus.

  15. Robin RK

    Did you get on the boat? I went in the 70’s, again in the 20**, I don’t remember the year, but the boat did not get as close to the falls as the 1970’s. I hope you enjoyed it all.

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