There are many ways to get up-close and personal with the power of Niagara Falls. On the American side, my son and I walked the Cave of the Winds to the base of the Falls, and my family has walked across the bridge to Goat Island. On the Canadian side of the Niagara River, we took a Journey Behind the Falls. The Maid of the Mist will take visitors on a boat ride from either side of the border close to the rushing water. My favorite “close encounter” with the Niagara River was the White Water Walk in Niagara Falls, Canada.
Just four kilometers downriver from the Falls, the White Water Walk is a 1,000 foot (1/4 mile) boardwalk along the edge of the river. There are several observation platforms to stop and watch the rapids churning, listen to the roar of the river and take photos.
Our White Water Walk visit started in the gift shop where we bought our tickets – $9.00 for adults and $5.85 for children 6-12 (Canadian dollars and be prepared for the 13% HST). An elevator took us down to the river level, then we walked through a tunnel that opened just below the Whirlpool Rapids. From there, we walked the entire distance of the Boardwalk, stopping occasionally to watch birds, butterflies and squirrels as well as the raging Niagara River.
From the Class 6 Whirlpool Rapids the Niagara River rushes through the Gorge and follows a 90-degree bend. Below the bend, we saw the Class 5 Devil’s Hole Rapids. It’s believed that the 3-5 meter waves aren’t caused by rocks at the bottom of the Niagara River but by the force of so much water being forced through such a narrow passage.
There is no time limit for visitors to rush back to the elevator to the surface, but you should plan at least an hour for the walk. The Boardwalk is wheelchair accessible except for two observation platforms with stairs. The Boardwalk is mostly flat, but there are a few inclines along the way.
The White Water Walk is open daily from April 3 until October 25 and hours vary, with shorter hours during the cooler months. Follow Niagara Parkway downriver from the Falls and the White Water Walk gift shop will be on the right with parking directly across the street.
Americans visiting Niagara Falls do need a passport to get back into the States if planning to venture to the Canadian side.
Sources: Niagara Parks.com