Niagara Falls is probably on the list of everyone who has ever made a list of places to visit during their lifetime and it was on mine as well. Even before coming to Cincinnati I knew Niagara will be on one of my first places to visit and after a failed attempt the plan materialized in the second time and 7 of us were on our way to Niagara from Cincinnati on a weekend trip. It is 7-hour drive from Cincinnati to Niagara so we decided to leave by Friday evening have an overnight stop in Pittsburgh and reach Niagara by Friday afternoon. Although we had decided to leave Pittsburgh early it was already 11:30 AM by the time we left and reached Niagara by 3:00 PM.
The whole Niagara experience is divided into 4 major parts: Cave of the winds, Maid of the Mist, Aquarium and an Adventure Theatre. There is a Discovery pass for 45$ which covers the fee for all the attractions or you can buy a separate ticket for every attraction. As some of our friends suggested that you can skip Aquarium and Adventure Theatre we decided to take separate tickets for Maid of the Mist and Cave of the Winds. Maid of the Mist is the famous boat ride that takes to right under the waterfall and Cave of the Winds is the walkways and decks made of wood which takes you within feet of the crashing fall. Without further delay, we headed for Maid of the Mist.
After clicking some pics from Observation Tower every one of us was given a blue poncho and boarded the double-deck Maid of the Mist tour boat. We could also see the Canadian boats where everyone was in a red poncho. As the boat ferries across the falls, the first thing I noticed was the unusual rainbow formed by the fog and as you ferry across the waterfall the rainbow keeps following you. The boat cruises along the three waterfalls: Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls which together are called as the Niagara Falls. As the boat approaches Horseshoe Falls it feels as if it is raining heavily, you get surrounded by humungous Horseshoe Falls from more than 180 degrees and the view is just breath-taking. The expirience of boat ride which takes you close to one of the biggest waterfall is amazling in its own way.
I had a lot of expectations from Niagara as it is often featured in most famous places in the world to visit and sees about 22 million visitors per year. Although the boat ride was fun and an unique experience in its own way, I was wondering why does it gets featured so frequently.
Our next stop was Cave of the Winds and it was open till 9:00 PM we decided to have dinner first. It was already around 8:00 PM when we took the elevator which takes you to the wooden walkways and just when you come out elevator you can see the amazing Canadian Skyline just in front of you. As we walked across the wooden platform and reached the waterfall I was astonished to see the lights projected on the falls. Hundreds of LED lights are housed in three locations across the Niagara and together, these lights create an awe-inspiring view. After a series of wooden walkways we ended up on the unbelievable “Hurricane Deck”. You are literally within feet of Bridal Veil Falls and the intensity of water makes it similar to a storm like condition and then I realized why is it named as “Hurricane Deck”. I had never imagined that I would ever get to go this close to Niagara Falls. The strong gush of water, the colourful light projection on fall and the beautiful skyline of Canada border made it a perfect place. We spend a lot of time clicking photos and jumping in the water and finally had to leave by around 8:45 PM as the Cave of the Wind closes at 9:00. At the end of the day, I thought that we were lucky that we got a chance to see the falls at night when the light projections ads to the beauty of Niagara. The most interesting part of the Cave of the Wind was witnessing the formation of a 360-degree rainbow. When the lights are projected on fall, their refraction through water droplets makes a perfect rainbow and I still wonder how is it even possible to see a full circle of rainbow that too at night! Unfortunately, we were not able to capture the rainbow on camera but that was one of the things which probably made the Niagara trip so memorable.
My views about Niagara changes after Cave of the Winds and I realised why it gets featured so frequently in the list of places to visit. Another interesting fact that we came to know was that the walkways and decks of the Cave of the Winds are removed to be protected from the ice of the harsh Niagara winters. All winter long, crews repaint and waterproof the lumber with and then each spring, the decks and walkways are rebuilt for another summer of fun. After the Niagara, we decided to go for camping at Four Mile Creek State Park which is around 15 miles from Niagara.
I was very happy that I finally made it to Niagara Falls, though it turned out to be very different than what I expected it is definitely a place to visit at least once. Many people say that you should visit Niagara twice once in summer/fall and once in winter also I have heard that the view from the Canadian side is more beautiful that States. For now, I can only wonder how much more appealing can it become but yeah I wish someday I will witness that Falls from the Canadian side during winter.