It is probably the most famous waterfall in the world, and many people believe Niagara Falls to be one large waterfall, but there are three sets of falls which straddle the border between Ontario, Canada and New York State, in the United States of America.
The largest is Horsehoe Falls, which is also known as Canadian Falls. These falls carry about 90% of the water from the Niagara River and is located between Table Rock in Ontario and Terrapin Point New York. So named because it does indeed resemble a horseshoe, most of these falls are located in Canada. The drop is about 52 metres (170ft) and the crest of the falls has a length of 670m (2200ft) and an estimated flow rate of 168,000 cubic metres.
The American Falls carry about 10% of the Niagara River waters and are located completely within the U.S. These falls are separated from Horseshoe by Goat Island. The height of these falls is 57m (188ft) and the crest is 290m (950ft).
Bridal Veil Falls is also on the U.S. side of the border and is the smallest but most accessible of the falls. Total drop is 55m (181ft) with a crest of 155m (508ft). However, here you can cross a walkway from Goat Island to Luna Island to visit the Cave of the Winds, a natural cave behind the falls which gives you an interesting perspective of the true power of the falls.
Niagara has a reputation for being the Honeymoon Capital of the world, and this would certainly have been true decades ago before air travel became more accessible. The falls are still a major tourist attraction, and temporary visitors are well catered for with a range of entertainments ranging from the Niagara Skywheel, which is a giant Ferris wheel, to a celebration of the bizarre at the Ripley’s Museum and the Guinness World Record Museum.
One attraction certainly worth doing is a cruise aboard the Maid of the Mist, which has been operating for over 165 years and still takes thousands of passengers upstream to the base of the falls. They are currently using the seventh vessel to carry the name. It is an experience in which you are guaranteed to get wet, although all passengers are issued with ponchos.
Looking at the falls from the top is impressive enough, but to sail to the base of the falls and to feel the absolute power of the water, to experience the deafening noise and the surge of the current whilst being doused with cold spray is an unforgettable and `must do’ experience when visiting Niagara Falls.