Niagara Falls and State Park
I have to confess that I have actually been to Niagara Falls before this trip and even took a ride on ‘Maid of the Mist’. This time around, although I was definitely going to ride the boat again, I also walked around the park and checked out several of the other falls that together make up Niagara Falls.
I was actually staying at Four Mile Creek State Park, a short drive along the Niagara Scenic Parkway which virtually parallels the border between the US and Canada. It was really just a large park area with wide open spaces to be able to either camp or park your RV and the addition of the wash/restrooms and electricity hookups. The cost of the park was $28 pn, a very reasonable cost in my opinion for a quiet scenic location close to the Niagara Falls State Park.
After I’d made the short journey and parked within the Niagara State Falls parking lot to the left side of the main visitor center, I made my way to Goat Island and my first viewing point, Terrapin Point, for Horseshoe Falls. I turned the corner and was immediately struck by the noise and the mist being thrown up by the falls, despite still being a short walk away from the edge. You can get some idea from the following short video.
The closer you get to the water’s edge the louder the noise from the immense volume of water, summertime daytime flow 675,000 g/sec (2,555,150 l/sec) that cascades over the drop into the Niagara River 167ft (51m) below. As you can see from the last photo in this group the other side of the river in Canada is more commercially built up than the US side.
I happened to be there on a very sunny day that made the stroll through the vivid green park areas very enjoyable. My next stop for viewing was at Luna Park for the American Falls and Bridal Falls. These falls were around the same height but nowhere near as much volume flowed over them as over Horseshoe Falls at ‘only’ 75,000 g/sec (285,000 l/sec). In the first photo of this group you can see brave souls with their yellow poncho getting a ‘shower’ from the falls.
In the background of the photo above is the Rainbow Bridge that connects the US to Canada via a scenic walkway. It was time to (again) experience the falls close up with a trip on the boat, although the Maid of the Mist was not in service today and the fleet had been replaced by all electric powered boats, this one called (naturally) ‘Nikola Tesla‘.
I bought a ticket for the Maid of the Mist boat ride, which cost $25.25, but it did include the observation tower (which if done solo costs $1.25). The Observation tower (also seen in the background of the above photo) gives you a clear view of all three falls and the raging water below. It did take awhile to stand in line and wait for the boat to return after each trip until my turn came around. One ‘advantage’ of the Covid restrictions meant there were far fewer people on the boat than usual allowing plenty of room to move around once onboard.
The last photo above shows rather calm waters as the boat heads towards the falls in the distance. On the left is the US side and shown on the right is the Canadian side. If you’ve never been to Niagara Falls before and decide to take the Maid of the Mist boat ride, I highly recommend you don the blue plastic hooded cape they provide (as part of the package). This is a serious amount of water and the boat does get quite close to the falls, so the mist/spray is quite impressive. As the boat starts to approach the falls, the water starts to churn and the background noise gets louder.
You do actually get even closer than shown in the video below, but on the video I took close in, all you can see is a mass of spray/mist and a very loud background noise mixed in with all the ‘squeals of delight’ from the passengers on the boat getting wet!
These videos and photos do not, of course, do the falls justice but hopefully they give you some idea of what the falls would look and sound like close up. As the boat turns around and heads back to the dock, the water calms again and the noise of the falls behind you starts to get less intense. It’s just one of those things you have to experience ‘up close and personal’ to get the full ‘immersive’ spectacle.
I highly recommend a trip to Niagara Falls to take in all the spectacular scenery and to complete the full ‘experience’ a boat trip on Maid of the mist will take you close enough to feel the power of cascading water. I set off for my next port of call, (Portland, Maine) thinking to myself that would probably be the last time I saw Niagara Falls in person, but then again, I thought the same thing after my previous visit over 10 years earlier.