Niagara Falls State Park
Lake Erie and Lake Ontario form part of the border between the USA and Canada. On the short river that separates them can be found one of the best known waterfalls in the world, Niagara Falls. One side is in New York State and the other in Ontario. Niagara is actually three parallel waterfalls, the American Falls and the small Bridal Veil Falls are wholly within the USA, but the best known part is the Horseshoe Falls which straddle the border. The falls were formed by the Niagara River cutting through a layer of hard rock to a layer below that is eroded more easily by the action of the water. Erosion has already moved the falls many kilometres upriver, and one day they will get to Lake Erie and partially drain it. This page shows the falls from the US side, click here to go to the Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada page which shows pictures taken from the Canadian side.
Horseshoe Falls & Maid of the Mist from Terrapin Point
The best way to see the Horseshoe Falls from the State Park is to take a trip on the Maid of the Mist. The trip takes you right in to the basin of the Horseshoe Falls, right into the heavy spray that obscures the base of the falls.
Horseshoe Falls from Terrapin Point
Niagara Falls State Park is located on the inside of a bend in the river, so the views of the 52 metre (170 foot) high Horseshoe Falls are not as good as those from the Canadian side. An elevated viewing platform is available but it is closer to the American Falls and when we visited there was a long queue (line) to get up it. Niagara Reservation was created in 1885 to protect the falls from industrial development, the first state park in the USA.
American Falls & Viewing Platform
At 53 metres (176 feet) the total height if the American Falls is slightly greater than the Horseshoe Falls, but a huge rockfall at the base restricts the clear fall of water to only 21 metres (70 feet). US Engineers once considered the removal of the rocks, but fortunately they decided not to tinker with nature. The small Bridal Veil Falls are just visible in the foreground with a crowd of people looking over the edge. The tower just beyond the American Falls is the viewing platform.
Bridal Veil Falls
The Bridal Veil Falls seem tiny until you realise that it is the sheer scale of the Horseshoe and American Falls that makes them seem small. Anywhere else, these falls would attract plenty of visitors in their own right. The walkway takes you right up to the top of the falls and we quickly realised that there was a lot of water in Bridal Veil. Below the Bridal Veil Falls is the Cave of the Winds, a trip down to the bottom of the falls for a very damp close up view. Rubber sandals and a waterproof poncho are provided.
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