Ever wondered what it feels like to witness the raw power of one of the largest waterfalls up close? The White Water Walk allows you to do exactly that.
Covering 212 sq. km., Niagara Falls is the world’s largest waterfall in terms of volume. It was formed in the Niagara River over 12500 years back when the thick glacier in Southern Ontario receded, and water from the Great Lakes broke free to create the Niagara Gorge.
At night, and during the winter months when tourism is sparse, the water flow is half and only achieves a minimum flow of 1,400 cubic metres (49,000 cu ft) per second. The International Niagara Board of Control is in charge of water diversion, governed by the Niagara Treaty of 1950. The lush green colour of the water rushing over Niagara Falls results from the Niagara River’s erosive power, which generates an estimated 60 tonnes per minute of dissolved salts and rock flour (extremely finely powdered rock).
Niagara Falls is a collection of 3 waterfalls at the particular southern end associated with Niagara Gorge that will span the boundary between the Canadian province of Ontario and the USA States state associated with New York. Horseshoe Falls, commonly recognised as the Canadian Falls, maybe the biggest of the 3 and spans the particular international border between two countries. Bridal Veil Falls will be separated from Horseshoe Falls by Goat Island and American Falls by Luna Island, found inside New York. United States Falls and Bridal Veil Falls are located in the United States.
It is 27 kilometres (17 miles) north-northwest of Buffalo, New York, and 69 kilometres (43 miles) south-southeast of Toronto, sandwiched between the twin cities of Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Niagara Falls, New York. Water from the newly created Great Lakes cuts a passage over and through the Niagara Escarpment on its way to the Atlantic Ocean as glaciers receded during the end of the Wisconsin glaciation (the last ice age).
A list of Niagara Falls hydroelectric producing plants is also available.
Around 1901, the New York side of the Niagara Gorge.
Niagara-Falls’ immense energy has long been recognised as a potential power source. In 1750, Daniel Joncaire built a tiny canal above the falls to power his sawmill, the first documented attempt to harness the waters. In 1805, Augustus and Peter Porter purchased this territory and the entire town of American Falls from the New York state government.
They widened the original canal to provide hydraulic power for their gristmill and tannery. The Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and Mining Company were founded in 1853, and it finally built the channels that would be utilised to generate electricity.
Over the years, the falls have eroded the edge of the rocks of the escarpment and presently stand 11 km from their place of origin.
Efforts to preserve
In the 1870s, visitors to Niagara Falls had limited access and often had to pay for a look, while industrialisation threatened to slice up Goat Island to boost commercial development.
Other industrial encroachments and a lack of public access prompted the Free Niagara conservation movement in the United States, which was led by notables such as Hudson River School artist Frederic Edwin Church, landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted, and architect Henry Hobson Richardson. Church approached Lord Dufferin, Canada’s governor-general, with a proposal for international talks on creating a public park.
The Wisconsin glacial developed the features that became Niagara Falls around 10,000 years ago.
The ice sheet retreat left a vast amount of meltwater (see Lake Algonquin, Lake Chicago, Glacial Lake Iroquois, and Champlain Sea) that filled up the basins carved by the glaciers resulting in the formation of the Great Lakes as we know them today.
Scientists believe a historic valley, St David’s Buried Gorge, buried by glacial drift near the current Welland Canal.
The escarpment of Niagara. Niagara-Falls is located amid Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.
The underlying materials degraded faster than the hard coating of stone. Immediately beneath the caprock is the Rochester Formation, which is weaker, softer, and sloping (Lower Silurian). This formation is mainly shale, with some thin limestone layers thrown in for good measure. It also contains prehistoric fossils.
Over time, the river undermined the soft layer that supported the complex layers, undercutting the hard caprock, which eventually gave way in large chunks. This procedure was continued indefinitely, finally cutting out the falls. The Queen stone Formation (Upper Ordovician) lies submerged in the river in the lower valley, hidden from view. It is formed of shales and fine sandstones. All three formations were created in an ancient sea, with their characteristics resulting from shifting conditions inside that sea.
Broadside advertising a trip to Niagara Falls from Massachusetts in 1895.
Peak visitor visitation comes during the summer when Niagara Falls is open during the day and night. Floodlights on the Canadian side illuminate both sides of the falls for several hours after dark (until midnight).
The Maid of the Mist boat excursion, named after an ancient Ongiara Indian mythical heroine, is a popular attraction in the area. They have been transporting guests into the rapids right below the falls since 1846. The Maid of the Mist operates from boat docks on both sides of the falls, with Hornblower Cruises (formerly Maid of the Mist until 2014) working from the American side and Hornblower Cruises (originally Maid of the Mist until 2014) operating from the Canadian side.
Niagara Falls is between the two twin cities – Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Niagara Falls, New York. On the Canadian side, you can get the best view of the falls from the adjoining Skylon Towers, which allows one to view as far as Toronto in the other direction.
The Niagara Parks Commission was founded in 1885 and offered a diverse range of peerless sights. The Commission was primarily established to maintain the Canadian Horseshoe Falls area.
On March 20, 1885, Premier Mowat introduced the “Niagara Falls Park Act – an Act for the Preservation of the Natural Scenery Around Niagara Falls.” It became legislation on March 30, 1885.
On Victoria Day, May 24, 1888, the Queen Victoria Niagara Parks was officially opened.
Casimir Gzowski was appointed as the first chairman of the Niagara Falls Park Commission. John Langmuir and John G. MacDonald were also founder members.
The original park was 154 acres and included Clifton Hill and Cynthia Islands (presently known as Dufferin Islands). The park’s width was expanded beyond the initial chain length, and the glacial moraine rises 100 feet above the plain about 300 yards west of the Niagara River and also known as Queen Victoria Park.
The Government of the Province of Ontario passed “the Queen Victoria Niagara Parks Act” on April 23, 1887. The establishing Commission’s recommendations were adopted. James Wilson was the first Park Superintendent.
Currently, the Niagara Parks spans a large region of 3274 acres, extending from Fort Erie in the south to Niagara-on-the-lake, alongside the entire length of the Niagara River.
Niagara Falls White Water Walk
The Niagara Parks have various attractions to keep visitors entertained as they grasp the enthralling natural beauty of Niagara Falls – one of them being the White Water Walk.
The White Water Walk allows you to view North America’s most extensive series of spectacular white water rapids up close! The White Water Walk is also a part of the Niagara Falls Adventure Pass Classic, allowing you to explore various other stunning attractions.
The White Water Walk is a quarter-mile riverside boardwalk travel on the Niagara River’s edge near the Whirlpool Bridge, bringing visitors next to the Great Gorge Rapids from the Canadian side of the river.
By visiting the White Water Walk, you get the opportunity to witness how majestically Niagara Falls has evolved over history and be mesmerised by the sheer power of mother nature.
To start on the White Water Walk boardwalk, one has to shin down 70 meters by taking an elevator through a 73-meter long tunnel to the base of the Niagara Gorge.
What is the exact White Water Walk Time?
Depending on the elevator line, you walk through a tunnel to the first deck to view the water, then left on the wooden walkway to a middle-tier (needs you to walk stairs down), and finally to the end to view the river (this has two levels) and use the stairs to go down. There are some extremely fascinating information signs along the way. You have your own time – it may be a half-hour or more to look, observe, and relax.
White Water Walk Parking
This location has approximately 20 white water walk free parking spaces. It’s roughly three kilometres downstream from the waterfall. Because most people ride the bus, you’re more likely to find a spot.
White Water Walk Tickets
The White Water Walk Admission is $17.00 for adults (13 and up) $11.25 for children (6 to 12 years). Children under the age of five are free.
Typical business hours are 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. One half-hour before closure, the last tickets are sold.
Reasons you should be visiting the White Water Walk.
1) Witness one of the most breathtaking natural wonders
The 305-meter boardwalk allows one to witness the 410 million-year-old geological formations of the Niagara Gorge on the edge of Niagara’s white water rapids.
Through the White Water Walk boardwalk, one can experience what it feels like to be surrounded by the thunderous sounds of roaring waters, to be fascinated by the awe-inspiring transcendent nature as the soothing roar of the rushing waters overpowers your sense of hearing.
2) A self-guided tour
The White Water Walk is an impressive quarter-mile, self-guided tour. This implies you can stand or walk on the boardwalk at your leisure, so long as you’re doing that during operating hours.
Along the path, numerous informational tablets elucidate the stories of all those brave hearts who have dared to attempt crossing Niagara Falls or the Niagara River.
3) Family-friendly and Wheelchair accessible
If you’re someone who uses a wheelchair or travelling with children or someone who uses a wheelchair, you don’t have to be worried as the boardwalk is wheelchair accessible and built to keep guests safe.
However, two viewing platforms can be reached only and are not wheelchair accessible. Since the boardwalk is safe for everyone to walk on, you can visit here with your children and enjoy the excellent view from the several platforms.
4) Stunning views from observation areas
Once you descend from the elevator and cross the tunnel, there are also stairs leading to two observation areas at the very edge of the river.
In case you’re wondering, you get to go close enough to the crashing waves of the Whirlpool-Rapids to almost get your feet wet (if you wish to) through some of the many platforms.
These platforms also offer some of the best photo opportunities.
5) Close up view of Whirlpool-
Rapids of one of the world’s wildest stretches
The Whirlpool Rapids Gorge narrows from 750 feet(228.5m) to 450 feet (137m) which causes water to speed up as it passes through the narrow corridor, creating some of the most violent and dangerous class 6 rapids in the world.
They travel at the speed of 48 km/hr, unravelling a majestic sight for visitors to feast their eyes on.
The Whirlpool Rapids comprise four kilometres of almost three to five-meter standing waves, making this entire spread the most extensive set of standing waves in North America.
6) Watch native plant and animal life
In short, the White Water Walk is a fantastic place to visit while exploring Niagara Falls. At Niagara Falls, every angle gives you something new to discover.
Adventure Pass Classic
If you wish to explore more of the splendid attractions at Niagara Falls, try getting your hands on the Niagara Falls Adventure Pass Classic.
Apart from the White Water Walk, this pass allows you to experience Journey Behind the Falls, Butterfly Conservatory, Whirlpool Aero Car, and Floral Showhouse.
You can also get some exclusive pass benefits on your arrival.
The pricing for entrance: adults(above 13) – $17, children (6-12) – $11.25, and for anyone who’s five or less, it’s a free entry. The prices are in Canadian dollars. The pricing changes over time and can be checked here.
It is advisable to thoroughly check the operating hours and other rules and regulations regardless of the season before your visit.