USA // The Mid-Atlantic //

Niagara Falls

Every second almost three-quarters of a million gallons of water explode over the knife-edge NIAGARA FALLS, right on the border with Canada some twenty miles north of Buffalo on I-190. This awesome spectacle is made even more impressive by the variety of methods laid on to help you get closer to it. At night the falls are lit up and the coloured waters tumble dramatically into blackness, while in winter the whole scene changes as the fringes of the falls freeze to form gigantic razor-tipped icicles.

Some visitors will, no doubt, find the whole experience a bit too gimmicky, although the green fringes of the state park provide some bucolic getaways. Don’t expect too much from the touristy towns of Niagara Falls, New York or even more developed Niagara Falls, Ontario. Once you’ve seen the falls from as many different angles as you can manage and traced the Niagara Gorge, you’ll have a better time heading back to Buffalo.

Niagara Falls comprises three distinct cataracts. The tallest are the American and Bridal Veil falls on the American side, separated by tiny Luna Island and plunging over jagged rocks in a 180ft drop; the broad Horseshoe Falls, which curve their way over to Canada, are far more majestic. Together, they date back a mere twelve thousand years, when the retreat of melting glaciers allowed water trapped in Lake Erie to gush north to Lake Ontario. Back then the falls were seven miles downriver, but constant erosion has cut them back to their present site.

More about USA

20% off ebooks

Subscribe to the Rough Guides newsletter and get 20% off any ebook.

Join over 50,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month.