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Nature has created a complex of waterfalls on the North American Niagara River, which connects two of the Great Lakes: Erie and Ontario. Each of them has its own name: "Horseshoe", "American" and "Veil", but all together they are united under the name "Niagara Falls".


Niagara Falls is a complex of waterfalls on the Niagara River that separates the US state of New York from the Canadian province of Ontario. Each waterfall of this complex has its own name:

  • waterfall "Horseshoe" (Horseshoe Falls), sometimes also called "Canadian Falls" (Canadian Falls);
  • "American Falls" (American Falls);
  • waterfall "Veil" (Bridal Veil Falls).

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The location of the waterfalls on Niagara is such that their simultaneous view is impossible. Someone is sure that the most colorful view opens from the Canadian coast, but those who make a trip to Niagara Falls from the American side are completely satisfied with what they see.

To understand where each of these waterfalls is located, we suggest you use our favorite AirPano service. With its help, you have the opportunity to enjoy the majestic view of all the waterfalls from the widest possible viewpoint – from a bird's eye view.

By world standards, Niagara Falls is not so high – only 53 meters. For comparison: at the Venezuelan Angel Falls, the height of a continuous fall is 807 meters; and the Victoria Falls in Zambia and Zimbabwe are 108 meters high. However, with a width of 792 meters, Niagara Falls is one of the widest waterfalls in the world (comparing with Angel and Victoria – 107 and 1800 meters, respectively).


Panorama of Niagara Falls

The waterfalls fall from a height of 52 meters, although the "American Falls" has a free fall height of only 21 meters, falling on a pile of fallen stones formed during a massive landslide in 1954.

The width of the large "Horseshoe" is 792 meters, and the "American Falls" is 323 meters. "American Falls" and "Veil" (really reminiscent of a wedding dress) are separated from each other by a tiny island of the Moon (Luna Island). Their total width is about 335 meters.

The total volume of water passing through the waterfalls is 5720 m³/s during the periods of greatest activity. In the summer, when the power plant takes most of the water, the flow drops to 2832 m³ / s (90% of which passes through the Horseshoe Falls), and at night it drops by half.

Niagara Falls is the most important landmark of the United States and, at the same time, Canada, as it separates one country from another.


The beauty of this natural wonder attracts many tourists from all over the world, which contributes to the prosperity of the cities located on the banks of the waterfall – Niagara Falls in the state of New York, USA and Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada.

Niagara Falls (New York) is an American city in the state of New York, named after the nearby Niagara Falls. On the opposite bank of the Niagara River lies the Canadian city of the same name. The twin cities are connected by an arched Rainbow Bridge.

Niagara Falls (Ontario) is a city in the southern part of the province of Ontario (Canada), in the area of ​​the so-called Golden Horseshoe. International Visitor Center (nicknamed "Canadian Las Vegas") in close proximity to Niagara Falls.

The most colorful view of the waterfall opens from the Canadian coast. A few hundred meters downstream from the falls, the Rainbow Bridge is thrown across Niagara, open to the movement of cars and pedestrians between the two countries.

The Horseshoe Falls is separated from the American Falls and the Veil by Goat Island, which appeared relatively recently: the Niagara River split into two channels about 500 years ago. The strength and power of the American Falls is much less than that of the Horseshoe, since the Goat Island slows down the movement of its water masses, while there are no obstacles in the way of the Horseshoe Falls.

Goat Island, which got its name from a herd of artiodactyls that once died here, is now a popular place for tourists to enjoy the picturesque landscape and take photos of Niagara Falls. It is connected to the US mainland by bridges.

Here is another Niagara attraction – the Cave of the Winds. From it you can not only admire the waterfalls from a close distance, but also feel the presence of big water and the power of its strength. "Power" – in the literal sense of the word: water splashes from head to toe, so tourists are given raincoats and waterproof shoes at the entrance to the cave.

Niagara Falls from a bird's eye view (photo taken using the AirPano service).



How did Niagara Falls come about?

The waterfall appeared due to the Wisconsin glaciation, which ended about 10 thousand years ago. It was a powerful continuous ice sheet of merged large ice sheets that covered the northern part of the continent. The Niagara River itself, with its waterfalls, arose as a result of the activity of the last ice sheet moving from the territory of eastern Canada.

The glacier moved like a bulldozer, grinding and moving rocks and soil. In some places, he deepened and widened riverbeds, creating the North American Great Lakes, and in other places he filled them up, forcing these rivers to subsequently lay new channels.

Niagara Falls, winter 2006. Photo: Evgeny Strok



Incredible stunts at Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is visited not only by millions of tourists: it also attracts lovers of extreme sensations. Consider the most outstanding events that took place here.

  • In October 1829, a certain Sam Patch jumped from the Horseshoe Falls and became the first known person to survive the fall. This started a long tradition of daredevils trying to get through the falls and stay alive.
  • In 1901, 63-year-old Annie Taylor became the first person to throw herself from a waterfall in a barrel and survive. Since then, 14 other people have deliberately tried to get through the falls. Some survived, others either drowned or were seriously maimed. Survivors were heavily fined for violating the law, both Canadian and American.
  • Others tried to cross the falls, as Jean François Gravelet, nicknamed "The Blond", successfully did in 1859. These tightrope walkers drew huge crowds of onlookers to testify to their accomplishments. Their ropes were not stretched directly over the waterfall, but near the Rainbow Bridge near it. Standing out among the many was William Hunt of Ontario, who billed himself as "Signor Fanini" and competed with Blondin in dangerous stunts.
  • On July 9, 1960, an event took place, later called the "Niagara Miracle". Seven-year-old American boy Roger Woodward was accidentally carried away by a stream of water and fell into the Horseshoe Falls, wearing only a life jacket, and remained alive and unharmed, and his 17-year-old sister was pulled out by a lifebuoy 6 meters from the cliff on Goat Island. Roger was pulled out by the Maid of the Mist pleasure craft, throwing him a lifeline.
  • July 2, 1984 Karel Susek from Hamilton (Canada) successfully passed the waterfall in a barrel, escaping with only minor bruises. He was fined $500 for performing a stunt without a license.
  • In August 1985, 22-year-old stuntman Steve Trotter became the youngest person to go through the falls in a barrel. Ten years later, Steve crossed the waterfall again and became the second person in history to successfully repeat this trick.
  • Kirk Jones on October 20, 2003 became the first person to pass the falls without any equipment. It is still unknown how this happened, perhaps he just wanted to commit suicide by falling from a height of a 16-story building. As a result, he escaped with only broken ribs, abrasions and bruises.
  • Not a single person survived after falling from the American Falls, since the bottom is covered with boulders, and the current is relatively weak and cannot throw a person further from the edge.
  • In June 2012, famous acrobat Nick Wallenda walked a metal cable directly over Niagara Falls from the USA to Canada. He covered 550 meters in just 25 minutes. Canadian authorities lifted a 128-year-old ban on such tricks for him.
  • In 2015, Will Gadd made the first ever ascent of a partially frozen waterfall.

Niagara Falls from a bird's eye view (photo taken using the AirPano service).



Interesting facts about Niagara Falls

  • The erosion of rocks under the falls continues and the falls slowly move upstream. According to experts, over the past 560 years, the average speed of movement has been 1–1,5 meters per year.

    The construction of a bypass canal and a power plant, as well as an artificial mound of stones under the waterfall, slowed down erosion, but even now it is estimated at about 30 cm per year, and with additional strengthening measures it can be reduced by 10 times.

    The further speed of the waterfall also depends on natural factors, such as climate change. There are rapids upstream of the Niagara, and if the waterfall recedes to their highest point, then its height will increase by another 15 meters, which in turn will increase pressure on the bottom and accelerate erosion.

  • The problem of the waterfall's retreat is shown in the popular science series Life After People, according to which in 5000 years the American Falls and Veil will dry up, and the Horseshoe will move north by 1,9 kilometers.
  • It is authentically known that Niagara Falls froze completely twice: in 1848 and 1912.
  • In 2014, many media reported that the waterfall was frozen again. However, this information turned out to be somewhat exaggerated.
  • Hydroelectric power plants with a total capacity of up to 4,4 gigawatts have been built under the waterfall.

☛ Go to the virtual panorama of Niagara Falls