||Great Waves of the Niagara Rapids
Click the images for enlarged view
||Niagara Falls, New York
||Unsupervised trail in Niagara Gorge and Whirlpool State Park.
||There are two versions of this hike. From the downstream side
the hike is long but fairly easy on a good foot trail and stone steps for most of the way.
From the upstream side, the hike is difficult on abandoned and unmarked trails. For the
latter version, you need a guide or excellent instructions.
||We started from the upstream end of the gorge at the Niagara
Aquarium and hiked down abandoned roads and trails into the gorge under the Whirlpool
Rapids Bridge and then dropped down to the edge of the river just north of the bridge. We
then worked along the edge until we reached Titan Rock, a huge rock which has fallen from
the rim above and forms a wonderful lunch spot right at the most violent part of the
rapids. We lunched watching the 20-foot standing waves and feeling the power of the river
vibrating through the rock.
After lunch, we progressed downstream and the trail
gradually improved (and had more hikers) as we approached the whirlpool. Downstream from
the Whirlpool, the trail is quite well traveled and after about 1/2 mile comes to a long
stone stairway (built by the CCC during the Great Depression) to the rim. We then returned
to the Aquarium on city streets. (On subsequent visits we have either hiked in from the
lower end, or used two cars. We have also scrambled up the cliff on some
cables just at the beginning of the Whirlpool. And for another
variation, we have hiked downstream from the Whirlpool State Park
steps to the power plants to see the smaller -- but still very
impressive -- Devil's Hole rapids below the Whirlpool.)
This is a great hike if you want to see a part of Niagara Falls which missed by the
tourists, and if you want to really see and feel the awesome power of lots of moving
water. What you see from Titan Rock is all of the water that goes over the American and
Canadian Falls combined in a channel which is half the width of the American Falls alone.
The water literally cannot get out of its own way and simply piles up forming the huge
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Last modified: 10/11/2005