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Published: July 14th 2006
Strong, fast water moving over Horseshoe Falls from the US side.
We drove up to Niagara Falls, NY after picking up our truck at the Newark Airport. We hit the park around 4pm, which was actually really fast time since we didn't even leave Newark until after noon.
The park on the US side is state run which really suprised us. We were expecting it to be a National Park. We were a bit disappointed by it. We drove through it once before we found parking to just get a lay of the land, and it just seemed a bit commercialized. Before you are even completely through the park, you run into a section of cheap food places and gifts and it feels a bit like the area right outside the gates at Yellowstone. They could do so much more with the area that they have, if they just had the determination.
Anyhow, saying that, I would still recommend seeing the falls from that side, and I would recommend seeing it from there first. The view of the both large falls (Horseshoe Falls, and American Falls) are beautiful from the US side, it is just not the famous view and you can get to the famous view in a matter
View of American Falls from the US side.
of minutes. Walk the trails along the falls and experience the strength and magnitude of the water rushing by. We took some cool pictures from that side along with some video and then headed over to Canada.
The Canadian side is very built up. Lots of hotels, casinos, and other attractions besides the falls to enjoy. The entire stretch of land along the view of both large falls is part of a park (might be National). There is no charge to enter the park but if you want to use the park's parking lot near the end, you will pay a bit. They take US and Canadian dollars so don't worry about having to convert money. We decided to pay for the parking and make the most of the park. We walked the entire length of the view, taking tons of pictures. It was getting close to dark so we were worried that some photos wouldn't come out. You can go in a boat down to the bottom of the falls for what I assume is an amazing wet experience but we were content to watch the falls from the top. There were lots of tourists running around but
American Falls At Night
Lights illuminating American Falls.
it wasn't so busy that we couldn't get a good view.
After it started to get too dark to take pictures, we headed up to one of the park restaurants and met with our second pleasant surprise of the night. We were both hungry and didn't really want to drive somewhere else but were expecting to be taken to the cleaners finding food inside the park. We had food at one of the restaurants on the patio with a breathtaking view of Horseshoe falls, and didn't have to apply for a loan. I think we had two drinks each, and burgers with fries and it was only about 30 bucks total. I couldn't believe it. The view was better than any view you could ever ask for at a restaurant.
About 1/2 way through dinner, the sun went down and it was completely dark. All of a sudden this huge spot lights came on and started to shine on both American Falls and Horseshoe Falls. They could have done a lot of different things to make the falls desirable after dark, and I thought this was a very tasteful way to do it. It wasn't commercialized, just illuminated
Full American Falls
American Falls in full day sun with some of the boats below.
and the lights would change colors over time which gave them an interesting effect.
After dinner, we headed down to find a virtual geocache for my Ontario find, and took a few more pictures. It was pretty late by now and we decided to see if we could find a hotel that wasn't too expensive. Considering it was a Saturday night we were figuring it would be unlikely that we could find anything in our price range, and would end up heading out of town to find something else down the road. We stopped at a Best Western that was off the main drag (no view) and were able to get a room for a reasonable price and it even had free wireless Internet. We checked in, got some sleep and even slept in the next morning.
After checking out the next day, and getting my required amount of postcards and a shot glass for our collection, we headed down to the falls for one last photo opportunity. J dropped me off with the two cameras and I made haste to get some video and stills of both falls in the better midday light while he looped around.
Full Horseshoe Falls
Horseshoe Falls in full day sun.
I met him at the curb and we were on our way through Ontario to Michigan and the UP.
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You can see the power of these falls from your photos - you will have to add a wet trip next time you visit, so we can really get the feel of the water. Very impressive!