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Cave of the Winds at Niagara Falls: A New York Family Day Trip
The Best Way to See Niagara Falls!
The Cave of the Winds attraction on the American side is the greatest way to really feel the power of Niagara Falls and to see its beauty up close. You get as close as 20 feet to the water cascading down from hundreds of feet above!
The strong winds push the mist from the falls everywhere, creating almost tropical-storm-like conditions that have to be felt to be believed. And the sounds of the water rushing by is louder than anywhere else on the Canadian or American sides of the falls.
The photos in this review were taken by us during our visit unless otherwise noted.
A History of the Cave of the Winds!
Don't Expect to Actually See a Cave!
The Cave of the Winds attraction is in the Niagara Gorge at the bottom of Goat Island, and at one time there really was an natural cave that could be explored. Located behind the Bridal Veil falls, it was an incredible 130 feet high and 100 feet wide. It was also about 30 feet deep.
Tours of the cave began in 1841 and were stopped in 1920 because of dangerous conditions, according to local tourism information. The cave itself was destroyed in a 1954 rockfall and subsequent dynamiting. For more information on the history see here. Today, visitors simply walk along wooden decks to the edge of the falls, which is plenty exciting enough!
Getting to the Cave of the Winds
Goat Island can be reached from the U.S. mainland by car or over a pedestrian bridge. There is parking on the island, which cost $10 when we were there. The walk over the bridge isn't that long, and it's pretty cool to cross over the river and see it rushing below you. The sound is quite impressive as well.
Once on Goat Island the entrance to the attraction is a stone building, and it is pretty easy to locate. With your admission charge you will receive a poncho and booties to help you stay dry. You will definitely need them!
An elevator takes you down 175 feet into the gorge, where you are let out on the wooden walkways and decks that lead to the Bridal Veil Falls.
This shot is from near the area where you get out of the elevator. To the left is the Canadian side of the river. To the right, in the rear of the photo, is the observation tower on the other side of the American Falls. The tower is above the dock where the Maid of the Mist boat tours are located.
Walking Along the Wooden Decks...
Seeing the Falls From Different Angles.
As you walk along the maze of wooden decks to reach the closest observation area you start to get hit by the mist from the falls. The decks get very wet!
In fact, the decks take so much abuse that the attraction closes each winter and the wood is removed for safekeeping. In the spring the planks are wedged back into the rocks crevices without any other fastenings, so there's no damage to the nature below the attraction.
In this photo you can see the youngest member of our family climbing toward the falls. He was about 10 years old at the time we visited, so that should give you some perspective on the scene.
Our Son Enjoying the Falls...
...Getting as Close as Possible to the Pouring Water!
The day we visited the winds were very strong -- so strong in fact that we had a hard time looking up at the falls because the water was hitting us so hard!
Here is our son on the observation deck that is closest to the water. He got soaked, of course, even with the poncho on! The wind was strong enough that it wouldn't stay on his head, but let's be honest: No full-blooded 10-year-old boy would care about that! He wanted to get as wet as possible, and at one point even motioned to take off the poncho until his mother said no!
Tourists Taking Photos on the Cave of the Winds Observation Deck
It's Not the Time Spent...
It's the Experience Enjoyed!
You can spend as much time as you'd like on the decks of the Cave of the Winds attraction, and we were there for about 40 minutes. That's plenty of time to walk around and see the Falls from just about every angle possible on the attraction.
There is a straight boardwalk to the observation deck for people in wheelchairs or those who don't want to climb along the stairways on the rocks, so everyone can enjoy the view.
The ponchos and booties are souvenirs, although in truth they aren't the best quality. We have put the ponchos in the rear of the car for emergencies, but got rid of the booties once we took the elevator back to the top of the island.
If you are planning on visiting Niagara Falls, you should go when this attraction is open because it was the most fun we had while there. You can check to make sure it has reopened from its winter closure by contacting the park here.
Cave of the Winds Video Tour - By Niagara USA
Will You Visit the Cave of the Winds... - If You Go to Niagara Falls?
Will the Cave of the Winds be on Your Itinerary?
For More Information
- Cave of the Winds at Niagara Falls: The Park's Website
Here is the New York state park's webpage on the Cave of the Winds.
- Cave of the Winds at Niagara Falls: Official Tourism Site
This is the official website of the Niagara Falls area.
- Cave of the Winds at Niagara Falls: Wikipedia
This is the Wikipedia page about the Cave of the Winds attraction.
Rainbow Along the Wooden Pathways
Have You Ever Been?
Have You Ever Visited Niagara Falls?
Highlights of Old Fort Niagara
If You Want to Learn Some History While at Niagara Falls
A short drive from Niagara Falls on the U.S. side is Old Fort Niagara, a national historic site that explains the strategic importance of the area before and during the founding of the United States. It may be hard to believe today, but the region was a front in several wars involving France, Britain and the U.S.
The fort also has a rather interesting tie to the Star-Spangled Banner. If you want to find out more, please check out our review here:
Highlights of Old Fort Niagara: A New York Family Day Trip!
Old Fort Niagara stands on the mouth of Lake Ontario and was once one of the most strategically important forts in North America, fought over by three countr...
Book Your Hotel Today!
We have used Hotels.com to book our recent vacations, and haven't had a problem yet. You do have to spend a bit of time reading the reviews to make sure the hotel you select is exactly what you want, of course. Sometimes a good price just means that the hotel has had a lot of poor reviews and has dropped what it charges to attract customers!
One other bit of good news is that you get a free night's stay after booking 10 nights. The freebie has to be on a subsequent trip, but it has helped us save money. Check out Hotels.com today:
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