Niagara Falls High and Low

Ah, Niagara Falls. One of the wonders of the world. And a place that just has to be experienced. And to fully experience it you need to see it from both the American and the Canadian sides, as well as both from dry land and aboard the famous Maid of the Mist boats that take you right up under the, well, mist.

Niagara Falls, which is where the Niagara River drains Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, is actually three separate waterfalls. Yes, three, not two. Most people think of the arching Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side and the straighter American Falls on the American side. But there is a third drop – Bridal Veil Falls – which is narrower and separated from American Falls by the tiny Luna Island.

Assuming you arrive by car from the American side, be sure to take the turn over the bridge crossing the deceptively peaceful river just upstream from American Falls and pass onto Goat Island. Here you can get right up to the edge of all three falls. Also visit the edge of American Falls from the US mainland side. You can even walk out on a tall structure that overhangs the river and provides a good view of the falls.

Then get back in your car, get your passport ready, and drive across Rainbow Bridge into Ontario, i.e., the Canadian side. From here you can walk along the banks and see all the falls across the river, providing the best spot for panoramic photos. And if you’re staying at one of the hotels on the Canadian side you might just be able to see the view below from your room on the 38th floor.

Niagara Falls Horseshoe Falls

Ah, but you want to get closer to the action right. How about this:

Niagara Falls Horseshoe Falls Rainbow

Next, head on down to the tour boats, get yourself literally immersed in the experience, then get that camera out because back on shore you’ll likely get a photo like this:

Niagara Falls American Falls

Of course, Niagara also boasts two statues of Nikola Tesla, whose alternating current patents allowed the first electricity generation from Niagara Falls.

So there you have Niagara Falls high and low. But one thing you probably won’t do is get the kind of view that Nik Wallenda recently got:

David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) (both Fall River Press). He has also written two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate. His next book is on Abraham Lincoln, due out in 2017.

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11 thoughts on “Niagara Falls High and Low

  1. If it was left alone as it was found, it wouldn’t exist today. The underlying rock is too unstable and would break apart under the full force of the Falls, thereby forcing the Falls up the Niagara River until it didn’t exist anymore. It was discovered how unstable the rock was when an effort was undertaken to shore up the Falls. Having said that, it is impressive and it was only until after I moved away (I grew up in Buffalo and would go to the Falls and Canada throughout my college years) that I appreciated how impressive the Falls are.

    • Good point. I saw the photo there that showed how far back it had eroded in the last several hundred years. The amount of erosion is miniscule now that so much water is diverted to the hydroelectric plants. I can live with that – electricity AND the beauty of the falls.

  2. Pingback: It’s Time to Travel | Science Traveler

  3. Great photos! My husband and I honeymooned in Niagara Falls over 31 years ago. I would love to go back someday, especially to see the new LED lights and colors on the falls at night.

    • It’s definitely worth another visit. I was there while researching my book on Tesla, and now there are two Tesla statues at the falls (one in the US, one in Canada).

  4. I visited Buffalo last summer (2015) with family. I was kind of disappointed when we went to a crowded park the first night and not a decent photo of the falls. The next day, I woke up before sunrise and walked to the falls from our hotel. I was overwhelmed to find an empty park and the falls just waiting for me to savor the moment. I sat in silence for nearly an hour then crossed over to goat’s island and sat on the rock benches and let the mist rise up and engulfed me. Nothing has surpassed the beauty of Niagara for me to this day. Thanks for sharing this.

    • It is rather awe-inspiring, and you do have to see it from both sides (and from the water). Truly impressive. And for me, relevant scientifically to both Nikola Tesla and Abraham Lincoln. 🙂

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