The Niagara Falls features the highest volume of water of any waterfall in the world – an estimated 168 000 cubic metres every minute is one rough estimate. That’s an enormous load of weight and power, enough to shape the land around it.
It’s this force that has formed the Niagara Gorge. This is a stretch of 11 kilometres of the Niagara River, running north from the current location of the waterfalls northward, where the river is flanked by cliff-like facings covered in rich native growth. The endpoint of the gorge, near Queenston, is the original sight of Niagara Falls over ten thousand years ago, before the force of the water moved the waterfalls upstream to their current location.
The result is a must-see for nature enthusiasts. Few are allowed in the river itself because of the powerful currents, and specially designed ferries and Whirlpool jet boats sail the waters and provide a supreme vantage point for visitors to see along the gorge and admire its forestlands. It also provides a close eye on the wild state of the waters in this stretch of the river – with constant rapids, and the iconic Niagara River whirlpool filling a churning basin about halfway through the gorge.
Sanctioned parklands cluster around this pocket of rapids and the basin itself – Whirlpool State Park, Devil’s Hole State Park and so on. The Niagara Glen is a prime spot for hikers and anyone eager to take a day out in one of the few pockets of pristine Carolinian forest left in Ontario. For anyone wanting to see the whirlpool from the best seat in the house, an aero car runs along a cable right over the body of water. It’s a well-serviced area that is easy to get to by travelling up from the Fallsview District towards the Niagara Falls Botanical Gardens.
The gorge is a great spot for anyone wanting to see more of the natural landscape that Niagara Falls has to offer. It’s a testament to the forces of nature, and how they can shape the land into something unique and beautiful.
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