When someone mentions the powerful Niagara Falls straddling the United States and Canada, the first image that pops into mind is a sea of blue ponchos embarking on the Maid of the Mist boat tour. However during the winter Niagara Falls turns into a spectacular icy wonderland.
As the temperatures begin to fall each winter, the roaring currents of the waterfalls are no match for the icy conditions. While the falls do not come to a complete standstill, many sections of the waterfalls are frozen in time, making for beautiful wintertime photography.
Besides the breathtaking landscapes, winter in Niagara Falls means lower costs for accommodations and a limited number of tourists. If you are up for the drive, it makes for a great several day getaway from Boston or NYC.
Winter Activities to enjoy in Niagara Falls State Park, NY
During the winter, several of the classic Niagara Falls attractions like the Maid of the Mist and the Crow’s Nest hike are closed due to the icy conditions of the falls and the river. However, there is still plenty to explore and enjoy in the Niagara Falls State Park on the United States side.
The Observation Tower has breathtaking views of the American Falls and Horseshoe Falls. It remains open year round, with free access during the winter. This is the best location in the United States to get panoramic views of all three falls in the Niagara Falls.
Take advantage of the light pedestrian traffic as you walk up the Niagara River, to the bridge leading to Goat Island. The walking trails closest to the falls are closed during the winter for safety reasons, but you still get plenty of amazing views of Niagara Falls.
The State Park remains open until midnight, which means you can take advantage of the many trails for a late night stroll after dinner.
Top Activities to enjoy in Niagara Falls, Canada
The best way to get between the United States and Canada is by walking or driving across the Rainbow Bridge. During times with snow, the walking path on the bridge is not always completely clear. If you plan on visiting both sides of Niagara Falls, make sure you bring your passport and proper visa, if required.
If you chose to drive to the Canadian side, park at the Table Rock Centre for $10 CAD, adjacent to the Horseshoe Falls. Take a walk along the Niagara River Recreation Trail of the endless viewpoints over the falls. Make sure to walk all the way down to the Grand View Marketplace to get a complete panoramic view of the falls.
Every evening, lights are shown from Canada, illuminating all three falls in Niagara Falls. You can see the colorful rainbow that the waterfalls become from either side, but Canada makes for better photos. The city of Niagara Falls in Canada has many more restaurants and additional attractions open throughout the winter to enjoy.
Winter Weather in Niagara Falls
Throughout winter the weather in Niagara Falls hovers around freezing. However, temperatures can easily swing higher or lower, so make sure to bring plenty of layers to keep warm. You can encounter rain or snow and a good chance the mist from the waterfalls will reach you on the Canadian side.
The sections of the trails that remain open throughout the winter are plowed and salted. But remember proper footwear is a must for any snow, ice or puddle encounters. With the Winter’s Day GORE-TEX Boots your feet will stay dry and comfortable, no matter the weather.
Charge your camera and get ready for the winter wonderland of Niagara Falls!