Niagara Falls is one of North America’s most stunning and magnificent natural wonders, and well-worth a visit whether or not you’re a fan of eco-tourism.
But, if you’re looking for a destination that has a lot to offer an eco-tourist, know that the Niagara Gorge is home to some of the most ruggedly beautiful terrain on the continent.
You’ll find trailheads, great fishing, picnic facilities, viewing platforms, and more on both sides of the border.
See Niagara Falls Gorge
Of course, if you’re like most people who visit the Niagara Gorge, the first item on your agenda will be seeing the waterfalls themselves!
Niagara Falls sits on the American/Canadian border, with American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls in the U.S., and Horseshoe Falls in Canada.
Many visitors want to make the most of their experience by visiting Niagara Falls in both countries.
If you’re looking forward to rustic camping as part of your eco-tourism experience, you’ll find comfortable and unique campgrounds in the New York countryside surrounding the Falls as well as on the other side of the border.
But even if you like camping, it’s worth spending at least one night in one of the riverside Niagara Falls hotels.
Rent a room with a view of the falls to take in the nighttime light displays and fireworks shows that occur over the water.
You’ll want to spend an entire day taking in the power and majesty that is Niagara Falls.
Don’t forget to don your waterproof poncho!
Afterward, visit the Journey Behind the Falls, where you can enter tunnels cut into the rock behind Horseshoe Falls more than a century ago.
From here, you can peer through observation windows cut in the rock to observe water rushing over the Falls at a rate of 600,000 gallons (2.8 million liters) a second.
At the end, you’ll reach a viewing platform that allows you to observe the 13-storey-tall waterfall from behind.
Explore the Trails on the American Side of Niagara Falls
You’ll find peaceful parks full of trails, picnic areas, hiking and fishing spots on both sides of the border.
On the American side, visit Devil’s Hole State Park, a park that overlooks the Devil’s Hole Rapids on the Niagara River.
Devil’s Hole is a popular fishing spot, with a stone staircase leading visitors down to the water.
You’ll see great views of the rapids and get an up-close glimpse of the geological strata of the gorge from Devil’s Hole Trail.
Whirlpool State Park, also on the American side of the border, offers scenic overlooks of the Niagara River Whirlpool and rapids, as well as hiking and fishing on the lower level of the park.
The Whirlpool Rapids Trail connects to the Devil’s Hole Trail.
Canadian Side of Niagara Falls Trails
You’ll find even more opportunities for hiking on the Canadian side of the border of Niagara Falls.
Hardcore hikers will appreciate the Bruce Trail, which follows the Niagara Escarpment for 550 miles (890 km).
The Bruce Trail also has more than 250 miles (400 km) of side trails.
Trail users will see a wide variety of local flora and fauna, including centuries-old coniferous trees growing on the edge of the Niagara Escarpment.
The trail also offers views of numerous waterfalls and rapids, as local waterways pass over the escarpment.
For a hiking experience of moderate difficulty that can be had without leaving the city of Niagara Falls, head to Niagara Glen Nature Preserve, where you can learn about the geology of the Niagara Escarpment, and the animals and plants that live within it, on one of the preserve’s twice-daily guided tours.
Explore the park’s numerous hiking trails, or rent bouldering equipment at the Nature Centre.
The Whirlpool Trail is the most difficult one in the park, but it’s worth the effort to sit by the water and take in the scenery.
The nearby Upper Whirlpool Trails also offer great views of the water.
Closer to downtown, the White Water Walk provides multiple viewing platforms from which you can gaze upon the power of Niagara River’s Class VI rapids.
If getting the opportunity to explore a new ecosystem is an important part of traveling for you, you’ll love Niagara Falls.
With miles of hiking trails, boardwalks overlooking the white water, and tunnels carved into the rock behind the Horseshoe Falls, you’ll find plenty to do outside on both sides of the border.
Just don’t forget your rain jacket!