Cathy’s Niagara Falls Top 10

Cool stuff to do in Niagara Falls. Most of it is free, and plenty of it’s good for you!

  1. Stand at the brink of the falls Stand at Table Rock on the Canadian side of the river April 1 – September 15 (8:00 am to 10:00 pm) or September 15 – October 31 (8:00 am to 8:00 pm) to see the falls at its very best. During these “tourist flow” times, you’ll see about half the natural flow of the river plummeting over the falls rather than a quarter, with the rest being diverted around the falls for hydroelectricity.
  2. Niagara Glen Hike one of the trails from the rim of the gorge to the spectacular Devil’s Hole Rapids of the Niagara River. One of my favourite places in the world. More about the Niagara Glen.
  3. Maid of the Mist Stand on the right-hand side of the boat to get closest to the falls. More about the Maid of the Mist.
  4. Goat Island and Cave of the Winds Take in the falls from Goat Island, wedged between the Horseshoe and Bridal Veil Falls on the American side. Feel like getting wet? Descend to the wooden walkways of the Cave of the Winds at the base of the falls. More about Goat Island and more about the Cave of the Winds.
  5. Dufferin Islands These eight bridge-connected islands make a lovely, quiet picnic spot. More about the Dufferin Islands.
  6. Butterfly Conservatory Disguise yourself as a flower (i.e., wear bright colours and cheap perfume) to get up close and personal with the butterflies. More about the Butterfly Conservatory.
  7. Fort George Visit the reconstructed fort that played a key role in the War of 1812. More about Fort George.
  8. Queenston Heights Park and Brock’s Monument Take a self-guided walking tour of the battleground of the War of 1812’s Battle of Queenston Heights or climb the 235-step narrow spiral staircase of the monument to an indoor platform with a view of Niagara Region and Lake Ontario. Now, with everyone tired and hot, cool off in the wading pool. More about Queenston Heights and more about Brock’s Monument.
  9. Niagara River Recreation Trail Bike or run or stroll the paved path following the 60 km length of the Niagara River. Pick a section. All of it is scenic, though closest to the falls it’s too congested for more than a leisurely walk. More.
  10. The Niagara Bruce Trail section covers the initial 80 km of the 850 km long trail. For a moderately strenuous wooded hike, try Queenston Heights Park to Fireman’s Park. For a magnificent view of vineyards, orchards, and Lake Ontario from atop the escarpment, try the short Woodend Conservation Area hike. More.

5 Responses to “Cathy’s Niagara Falls Top 10”

  1. Richard Davey


    I grew up in Niagara Falls, NY. I remember when the old Schoellkopf generating plant collapsed, right behind my house on 4 th St in 1956. Then they built the big Robert Moses plant in NY. I am torn between preserving the falls and river and the necessity for non-polluting hydro power in these days of global warming, as your book so nicley outlined. Thanks for bringing back memories of the stories about the ice bridge collapse, Webb, Blondin, the barge stuck at the brink, Ann Taylor, etc. It is a rich histroy!

    Great book, beautifully written.

  2. Jen Engel

    Dear Cathy – What a wonderful book! I first fell in love with the Falls while attending Niagara University on the US side. The view of the Gorge from my dorm was spectacular. Since then, my love for the River, and the Lakes in connects, has only grown. It was great to review your “top ten.” It gives me ideas for my next adventure. Thanks!

  3. Bob Baxter

    I enjoyed your list as well…and if it had a shortcoming it was not mentioning viewsheds from the US side of the river, the up-close to the falls & rapids opportunities on Goat Island, the way-down glens along the stone steps to gorge bottom at Devil’s Hole & Whirlpool State Park…the wonderful Old Fort Niagara, and so on.
    Currently many of us–for the past 15 years–have been advocatiing the total removal of all 4 lanes of the gorge parkway (there are alternative routes) and the restoration of natural landscapes: I love that you’re keeping our legacy and history alive.

  4. Shelley Coletti

    Very nicely done Cathy. We are soul “river girls”