Contrary to popular belief, Niagara Falls not just one waterfall; it’s in-fact a collection of three a waterfalls , creating a wide and awe-inspiring sight. The centrepiece always has been the largest link in this chain: the Horseshoe Falls.
The majority of the water flowing in from the Great Lakes region travels through the Horseshoe, named for its bowed shape. The actual amount of water flowing through this waterfall changes due to seasonal changes and the presence of hydroelectric channels, and rough daytime estimates vary between 600 000 – 750 000 gallons (2–3 million litres) per second. In a drop of 173 feet (52 metres – or 13 storeys) along a crestline 670 metres wide, travelling downward at approximately 65 kilometres per hour, the water is both a massive sight to behold and a thunderous sound.
The amount of force behind this flowing water has shaped the landscape for centuries – Niagara Falls Erosion has always been a concern for the waterfall’s custodians, and until recently the waterfall was moving upstream at a rate of 1 metre per year. Lately that rate of erosion has reduced significantly – meaning the Horseshoe, despite the amount of power the water forces upon the riverbed and cliffside, will keep its current shape for a long time to come.
The collective Niagara Falls carries the largest volume of water out of any waterfall in the world, and over three quarters of that water flows down the Horseshoe Falls and into the Niagara Gorge.
There are a variety of ways to see the Horseshoe Falls up close. From land, there are vantage points on both American and Canadian soil. The Table Rock Welcome Centre (the main hub for Canadian-based tourists), Skylon Tower, Goat Island and Prospect Point are just a handful of the popular observation decks from which the Horseshoe can be appreciated. Many of these viewpoints are epicentres for local amenities and tourist-friendly activities. Admirers not afraid to get wet can also board a Hornblower or Maid of the Mist Cruise and ride up to the edge of the cascading water, or see the spectacle from a whole new angle in the Journey Behind the Falls attraction.
The most comfortable way to see the Falls for hours at a time is in a Fallsview Hotel Room, overlooking the Falls.
The whole band of waterfalls should be appreciated as the collective Niagara Falls. The Horseshoe Falls is just a part of that iconic landscape. It is an integral part, and it’s the jewel in the crown of the Niagara region.
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