A place often explored by hikers and nature enthusiasts, the Devil’s Hole State Park is located along the Niagara Gorge in Niagara Falls, New York. Situated adjacent to the Whirlpool State Park, this natural geological formation is actually a deep cavity in the Niagara Gorge. It was created after the last ice age when a tributary of a lake gushed over the gorge to meet the river. This led to the creation of a waterfall and down the years, the falls eroded the area around it and eventually dried up while forming the Devil’s Hole notch.
Spread over 42 acres of wooded as well as cleared land, the Devil’s Hole State Park lies along the lower reaches of the Whirlpool Rapids. The rapids here are slightly calmer although it is filled with strong undercurrents. The entrance to the park is located off the Robert Moses Parkway. The upper level of the park has wide open space and a few picnic tables. Another level offers wonderful views of the Niagara River, the gorge covered with trees, the Robert Moses Power Plant and Devil’s Hole. From here, a series of steps takes you 300 feet down into the gorge where you have access to the Devil’s Hole trail. You need to be careful while climbing down the 400 steps to the gorge due to the uneven stairway and the rocky terrain.
Surrounded by vegetation and interesting geological formations, the walk down offers glimpses into the entire ecosystem formed as a result of Devil’s Hole. At the end of the stairs, you are just a few feet above the water level with a great view of the river rapids. This part of the rapids is also a popular spot for fishing as the waters here attract all kinds of fish especially trout and salmon. The area is also a hangout for various birds like gulls, raptors, waterfowls and other migratory species. The cliff walls here have caves that were formed as a result of the waters that froze, expanded and cracked the rocks from within resulting in deep fissures.
There’s a lot of interesting history behind this place as well. The Seneca Indians held Devil’s Hole in high regard and it was sacred to them. It was also the site of a bloody battle between the Seneca Indians and the British soldiers. The park is open around the year although it is inadvisable to go there during heavy snow or rainfall. Admission is free and park hours are from dawn to dusk.
Although the name might sound ominous, Devil’s Hole is an exciting way to discover nature in all its glory.
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