A destination famous for attracting honeymooners in droves, Niagara Falls remains a cornerstone of the peerless North American landscape. This collection of cataracts contains three separate waterfalls, Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. The falls straddle the border of the United States and Canada, often making a trip to this legendary landmark an international affair.
Niagara Falls proves a notorious hotbed for thrill seekers. School teacher Annie Taylor Edison was the first stunt person to traverse the falls in a barrel in 1901. She was 63 years old at the time of her trip! This hazardous hobby has since been outlawed; barrel-borne daredevils can now be fined up to $10,000 for their dangerous endeavors. However, new legislation could not stay in the way of Nik Walenda, a tightrope-walker who (legally) traversed Niagara Falls on tightrope in 2012, beginning on American soil and ending in Canada.
While many tourists venture to Niagara Falls to enjoy and encounter with nature, some are surprised with how close of an encounter actually occurs! Several reports of tourists exploring the wooden decks near the base of the American and Bridal Veil Falls being hit by falling, flailing fish have surfaced. Thankfully, no one has been seriously injured. Experts estimate that 90% of fish that go over Niagara Falls survive the drop, the foam at the bottom of the falls acting as a cushion.
Besides service as a source of awe and an opportunity for contemplation, Niagara Falls additionally plays a critical role in the production of hydroelectric power for the surrounding region. In fact, about 75% of the Niagara River’s water is diverted to a nearby dam, leaving about a quarter of the current to plummet over Niagara’s rocky cliffs in proud pageantry. The hydroelectric power plant receives a larger percentage of the water flow at night, ensuring the production of clean energy while daytime tourists still witness the natural spectacle of the falls. Niagara Falls is currently New York’s largest supplier of hydroelectric energy.
Niagara Falls reaches a soaring height of 165 feet at its tallest point. Although Niagara Falls is not among the tallest cataracts in the world, it still claims the titles of North America’s widest and most voluminous waterfall. An impressive 3,160 tons of water rushes over its rim every second, making the sheer mass of airborne water worth the trip to the American-Canadian border.