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.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Summer of Love: a journey through San Francisco 50 years on

Summer of Love: a journey through San Francisco 50 years on

San Francisco was the epicentre of the Summer of Love, a movement intent on changing the foundations of American society forever. Half a century later, Tamara…

04 Jul 2017 • Tamara Hinson local_activity Special feature
Where to stay in LA: an area by area guide

Where to stay in LA: an area by area guide

Few regions of the world have been as idealized and mythologized as California – and yet it seldom fails to live up to the hype. The glamour, surf beaches and…

22 Jun 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
The 15 most spectacular sights in Southwest USA

The 15 most spectacular sights in Southwest USA

A vast expanse of stunning desert scenery, the Southwest is arguably the USA’s most spectacular region. For splendour and sheer scale, the landscape consisten…

06 Jun 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right