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Niagara Falls

 

Arguably the world's most famous waterfall, or rather a set of waterfalls, Niagara Falls may not need much of an introduction, as it is a very popular tourist attraction in both New York State and the Province of Ontario, a destination of plenty of honeymooning couples, vacationing families and college students out for a good time for a weekend. Niagara Falls is also the site of many daredevil activities over the years, such as tightrope walking and going over the falls in a barrel. It is always nice to have a bit of a refresher, of course.

Niagara Falls is made up of two main waterfalls, American Falls (also known as Rainbow Falls), which is on the American side of the border and Horseshoe Falls (also known as Canadian Falls), where the border between the United States and Canada crosses. There is also a smaller waterfall on the New York side of the border, which is Bridal Veil Falls. The height of the waterfalls are impressive, with Horseshoe Falls measuring at 170 feet in height and American Falls being 180 feet tall, but the flow of the waterfalls is more impressive as the water works its way down the Niagara River on its way from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. However, the majority of the water from the Niagara River is diverted for power generation, which is impressive when you think of it.

I find that the atmosphere on the New York side of Niagara Falls is more natural in nature, probably because Niagara Falls is the site of Niagara Falls State Park, which is the oldest state park in the United States. There's also Whirlpool State Park and Devil's Hole State Park a little further downstream along the Niagara River. On the Canadian side, Niagara Falls feels more festive in nature, since you have other attractions and entertainment options around the falls, as well as in the Clifton Hill area of Niagara Falls, Ontario. I tend to think that the Canadian side has better views of Niagara Falls, but there is plenty to see on the American side as well. Niagara Falls may have been among one of the first waterfalls I've ever seen (although it could have been Mine Kill Falls in Schoharie County), as my family took a vacation to Niagara Falls the summer before I turned 6 years old. It was at my insistence that we went there, from what I've been told. The following photos are of photos I've taken on the American side of Niagara Falls.

One of the bridges to Goat Island, which separates the American Falls from Horseshoe Falls.

Part of the skyline of Niagara Falls, Ontario as seen from the top of American Falls. Some of the buildings that can be seen include the Tower Hotel (also known as the Konica Minolta Tower) and the Fallsview Casino Resort. The Skylon Tower is also in the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, but is slightly out of view from this photo.

American Falls.

A view of the Niagara Falls Observation Tower. The observation tower is said to the only area on the American side of the falls that allows you to have a panoramic view of both the American Falls and Horseshoe Falls. I can see good views of both falls from the Rainbow Bridge as well the Canadian side of the Niagara River, but for Americans like myself, that requires having a passport on hand.

American Falls, with Horseshoe Falls in the background.

Another view of both American Falls and Horseshoe Falls. The mist generated by the water gushing down Niagara Falls is neat and can be seen from a few miles away on the Niagara Scenic Parkway or I-190.
There's that famous mist again.

American Falls as seen from the Observation Tower. You can make out the boat for the Maid of the Mist tour on the river.

The Rainbow Bridge, which is 950 feet in length and spans 202 feet above the Niagara River, all while approximately six billion pounds of water flow under the bridge every minute. The bridge was built in 1940 and 1941, after the Honeymoon Bridge collapsed in 1938 due to damage from ice. I'm a big time enthusiast of both bridges and waterfalls, so it goes without saying that the Rainbow Bridge is my favorite crossing of the Niagara River (the Peace Bridge is second on that list, for anyone who is curious).

American Falls again, with a view of Horseshoe Falls in the background.

American Falls, complete with a walkway to get close to the falls.

Horseshoe Falls, with the Maid of the Mist boat.

American Falls.
Probably the best view of the Horseshoe Falls that I photographed from the observation tower.

One last view of American Falls and Horseshoe Falls from the observation tower.

Looking up at the observation tower.

As you can see, it's a long way up to the observation tower.
A view of Niagara Falls, Ontario from pretty close to river level. There's that Skylon Tower that I referenced earlier.

Mist from American Falls.

Some tourists looking at American Falls.

For people who do not necessarily want to get wet, there is plenty of areas to observe the falls from ground level as well.
Skylon Tower, with the Maid of the Mist.

Looking upstream at the Niagara River, right near the top of Horseshoe Falls.

Horseshoe Falls. A wayward bird wanted to get a birds-eye view of the waterfall from above, it appears.

Right up to the ledge at Horseshoe Falls.

Looking downstream from Horseshoe Falls at the Niagara River.

Maid of the Mist.

Those passengers on the Maid of the Mist boat are about to get wet, with the boat going into Horseshoe Falls.

Mist from the American Falls, along with a shot of the Rainbow Bridge.
American Falls.

A closer look at American Falls and the observation tower.

At the top of American Falls. That is the Casino Niagara in the distance.

Looking down at the bottom of American Falls. You can see why it is also called Rainbow Falls.

A nice parting shot of the American Falls, Horseshoe Falls and Niagara Falls Observation Tower as seen from the pedestrian walkway of the Rainbow Bridge.


Sources and Links:
New York State Parks - Niagara Falls State Park
Niagara Falls State Park - Amazing Niagara Falls 
Niagara Falls USA - Niagara Falls USA
History.com - Niagara Falls
NYFalls.com - Niagara Falls Information Center 
Niagara Falls Live - Rainbow Bridge
Flickr - Niagara Falls (my larger photo collection)

How to Get There:



Update Log:
February 11, 2018 - Posted original article to Unlocking New York.
September 9, 2021 - Transferred article from Unlocking New York to Gribblenation.

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