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Cave of the Winds at Niagara Falls: A New York Family Day Trip

Updated on September 29, 2014

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.

Cave of the Winds View
Cave of the Winds View

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!

Cave of the Winds Niagara Falls View
Cave of the Winds Niagara Falls View

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.

Cave of the Winds Approach
Cave of the Winds Approach

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.

Cave of the Winds Up Close
Cave of the Winds Up Close

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

Tourists Taking Photos on the Cave of the Winds Observation Deck
Tourists Taking Photos on the Cave of the Winds Observation Deck
Bridal Veil Falls
Bridal Veil Falls

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

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Rainbow Along the Wooden Pathways
Rainbow Along the Wooden Pathways

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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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    • RobertConnorIII profile image

      Robert Connor 3 years ago from Michigan

      Now we could make this a overnight trip!

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I've been on the Canadian Side and taken the Maid of Mist ride, but haven't been on the USA side! I love Niagara Falls, it's so nice

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 3 years ago from California

      Excellent lens and incredible photos! I've never been to Niagara Falls, but I've always wanted to.

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 3 years ago from Texas USA

      I had to read this article when I saw the title. I'd watched an old black and white series which was filmed at Niagara Falls and part of it took place at cave of the winds. Great lens.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 3 years ago

      I've been to Niagara Falls once, and did the tour that goes under the falls. That was fun (and plenty wet). We stayed on the Canadian side. I enjoyed your stories and photos very much!

    • evawrites1 profile image

      evawrites1 3 years ago

      This place looks amazing. I wish I will be able to see it once.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Your travel lenses are always spectacular. Thank you so much for this tour. I felt the wind and rain as well as I might reading any novel.

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 3 years ago

      Wow! That must be an amazing experience and even a bit frightening!

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 3 years ago

      This is a great documentary on the falls. I live in Australia and there is no way I could visit these falls so I thoroughly enjoyed your visit there. The pics and videos are amazing. Thanks and well done.

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 3 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      I've been there on January 4 when it was 3 degrees outside and the falls were freezing over on their surface and they had them backlit at night. I'd like to come in the daytime sometime, and also again on a cold winter night -- both with my camera, of course.

    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 3 years ago

      Your pictures are awesome! It was a delight to journey through your lens!

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      It is such an awesome sight to see. What a great lens! Thanks for sharing it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      Beautiful place! Nice job making this lens!

    • profile image

      caryfranco 3 years ago

      I have been in Niagara Falls on the Canadian side only, although I did take the boat. I t was amazing. I think next time I go I will have to check The Cave of the Winds attraction on the American side.

    • Max Globe profile image

      Max Globe 3 years ago

      Really great lens! Unfortunately, I've never been to Niagara Falls, but it's "it's already on my list of things to do there!" :)

    • Max Globe profile image

      Max Globe 3 years ago

      Really great lens! Unfortunately, I've never been to Niagara Falls... but "it's already on my list of things to do there" :)

    • Babu Mohan profile image

      Mohan Babu 3 years ago from Chennai, India

      Niagara falls look great always and you make it look even better.

    • SusanneB profile image

      SusanneB 3 years ago

      wonderful pictures

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Niagra Falls ... yes I saw it once many moons ago. One day I will go back and see it up closer - like the view from this Cave of the Winds.

    • profile image

      cookiebear98 4 years ago

      You have brought Niagara Falls to light in an entirely new way. Thank you. I'll need to revisit the Falls.

    • MelanieKaren profile image

      Melanie Wilcox 4 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      wonderful article about Niagara Falls! growing up outside of Buffalo until I was eleven years old made for numerous trips to Niagara Falls. I love it there and have been back a few times as an adult. It's such a cool place. I love how they let you experience it up close and personal - actually, just as you have done with this lens :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Good lens, very pleased to see it. :)

    • profile image

      YourTravelHub 4 years ago

      I have visited Niagara Falls but it was a long time ago. We were there in the winter and the mist had all frozen on the branches of the trees. It was magnificent. Looked like a fairy land.

    • silla lm profile image

      silla lm 4 years ago

      Wow, the Cave of the Winds looks like it might be a bit scary, but it's really beautiful!

    • profile image

      ChocolateLily 4 years ago

      We visited Niagara Falls as part of our honeymoon road trip to Quebec City. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to do the Cave of the Winds, but I am sure we will if we are blessed to return. We loved seeing the Falls. Thanks for your tour!

    • profile image

      marsha32 4 years ago

      We went to Niagra Falls on a family vacation when I was in 3rd grade. I do hope to have the opportunity to see if again.

    • Stephanie36 profile image

      Stephanie 4 years ago from Canada

      This looks interesting. I've never been to the American side of the falls, but I might have to check this out if I wander over that direction.

    • Pat Goltz profile image

      Pat Goltz 4 years ago

      It's interesting that I could never figure out why Canada was always to the left of Niagara Falls, but now looking at the map, I see right away why that is.

    • Pat Goltz profile image

      Pat Goltz 4 years ago

      I have heard of so many people who enjoyed the Cave of the Winds. If I ever get back to that part of the country, it's on my list! Beautiful lens.

    • socialcx1 profile image

      socialcx1 4 years ago

      Wonderful and congratulations on your purple star.

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 4 years ago from Lakewood New York

      Great job,and pictures well done I just today published Visit Niagara Falls

    • steadytracker lm profile image

      steadytracker lm 4 years ago

      Wow, such a great lens on visiting the Niagara Falls. Thank you for sharing.

    • Dave Lynch profile image

      David Edward Lynch 4 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      I like waterfalls, thanks for writing about Niagara Falls

    • EntrepBeings profile image

      EntrepBeings 4 years ago

      What a great lens! Thank you for sharing! We plan to visit Niagara Falls in the next few months!

    • Bercton1 profile image

      Bercton1 4 years ago

      Great photos of wonderful scenery!

    • Raymond Eagar profile image

      Raymond Eagar 4 years ago

      If I win the lotto they will be on my list to visit .

    • HappyTom LM profile image

      Tom Christen 4 years ago from Switzerland/Ecuador

      A wonderful lens! Thank you very much for sharing...

    • josietook profile image

      josietook 4 years ago

      Great lens!! I've seen the falls once, six years ago, would love to go again.

    • LornsA178 profile image

      LornsA178 4 years ago

      I love to visit Niagara falls again, it's been 15 years! Was not able to experience the Cave of the Winds though.

    • aviwolfson profile image

      Avi Wolfson 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hopefully someday!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      I have never visited there, but hope to one day.

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

      I have been deprived that I have never been to Niagara Falls.

    • gadifi lm profile image

      gadifi lm 4 years ago

      cant wait until july 8 that is when I am going to see the falls for the first time --thanks for the great information

    • profile image

      the-gadgeteer 4 years ago

      Went there 3 years ago and your lens brought good memories. You told it like it is, thx.

    • Arod17 profile image

      Arod17 4 years ago

      I have always wanted to visit Niagara Falls

    • reviewcorner profile image

      reviewcorner 4 years ago

      Your pictures are amazing, who doesn't want to go there?

    • Socialpro54 LM profile image

      Socialpro54 LM 4 years ago

      nice lens...

    • dakadare profile image

      dakadare 4 years ago

      I must go there one day!

    • rking96 profile image

      Rick King 4 years ago from Charleston, SC

      This is a very interesting lens! A trip to the Falls is in our future as we typically visit relatives in Ohio in the summer. Good to know that this is on the US side since it is such a hassle these days to cross the border.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 4 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I grew up going to Niagara Falls! We lived in the Rochester, NY area and went at least once a month every summer -- parents, siblings, grandparents... we'd all pile in the cars and drive over with a picnic lunch, which we'd have on the American side of the Falls. Then we'd drive over to the Canadian side, which was always funny (to me) because my grandfather always had to show his passport to be allowed in because he was born in Canada and then immigrated to the United States. Took many visiting friends to the 'Cave of the Winds' over the years. Fun memories!

    • CaztyBon profile image

      CaztyBon 4 years ago

      I enjoyed your lens. I live near Niagara Falls. I've only gone there when out of town family visit and want to see it. I guess when your so close you think nothing of it until reminded. Thanks for reminding me1

    • erbeaz profile image

      erbeaz 4 years ago

      I've been close enough to the falls to see the mist from them, but was not able to actually go see them - so would have loved to!

    • jericho911 lm profile image

      jericho911 lm 4 years ago

      I've been to the Falls once. Honestly, I thought it would be much larger. After seeing movies such as Niagara and Superman, I had this idea that it was the size of Rhode Island ! LOL It is a fun area to visit and the view is great.

    • BrianRS profile image

      Brian Stephens 4 years ago from France

      I definitely need to get to Niagara Falls at some point. Even more determined now I have read your lens on it. The cave of the winds looks like a must do experience.

    • profile image

      weballan 4 years ago

      I'd love to go and see Niagara Falls. Now that I've read your beautiful lens must admit it would be fantastic to visit this place.

    • magicalfuture profile image

      magicalfuture 4 years ago

      I visited the Niagara Falls back in 1982 when I was 16 years old; it has been (unfortunately) the only time being in the US

    • profile image

      BarbsSpot 4 years ago

      @Lensmaster...Congrats on a well-deserved Purple Star for this gorgeous Lens!

    • profile image

      BarbsSpot 4 years ago

      @Lensmaster...Beautiful shots of Niagara. I was there on a pre-wedding trip way back in 1972, and never will forget the awesome falls!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I have wanted to see Niagara Falls for myself.

      You must be able to feel the power of the water that falls.

      Thanks for sharing! :)

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

      I wish if i could go there right now to see Niagara falls! Great lens :)

    • oldthemushy profile image

      oldthemushy 4 years ago

      Hadn't been able to see it LIVE since childhood! But saw it pretty much deeply thanks to you ;) :)

    • VPNVince profile image

      VPNVince 4 years ago

      Ahh, the power of Squidoo ... I had no idea that "the cave of the winds" existed(!).

    • Judith Nazarewicz profile image

      Judith Nazarewicz 4 years ago from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

      I've visited when I was young but would love to go again! Truly amazing!

    • profile image

      fifinn 4 years ago

      truly remarkable. Even from the picture, it looks to create a beautiful rainbow. Amazing.

    • profile image

      fifinn 4 years ago

      truly remarkable. Even from the picture, it looks to create a beautiful rainbow. Amazing.

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 4 years ago from New York

      It looks awesome. I am on my way to upstate NY next month. May just have to travel up there too.

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 4 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      I was at Niagara in January when the falls were freezing over (4 degrees that night!). I didn't make it below deck, though. Would like to go back and get the full experience sometime.

    • mcspocky lm profile image

      mcspocky lm 4 years ago

      I've been to the Cave of the Winds in Colorado, but didn't know there was one by Niagara Falls. I would love to go there and experience the cave and the falls,

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Looks like an interesting trip.

    • profile image

      kenviet1102 4 years ago

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    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Visiting Niagara Falls is on the list of things to do in the USA, but the trip there will have to wait until we win the lottery! Sigh......

    • profile image

      ChristyZ 4 years ago

      I've been to Niagara Falls six times and I've never done the Cave of the Winds. It looks great, so next time I'm going to do it! Terrific lens:)

    • SheilaMilne profile image

      SheilaMilne 4 years ago from Kent, UK

      I'm visiting my sister in Canada later this year and we'll be going to Niagara Falls. She's lived there all these years and never been herself.

    • profile image

      grannysage 4 years ago

      I really wanted to go to Niagara Falls last year but just couldn't make it. I would definitely go see the Cave of the Winds. That looks like so much fun!

    • bluelily lm profile image

      bluelily lm 4 years ago

      Just imagining of being there thrill me.

    • paleo-cavewoman profile image

      paleo-cavewoman 4 years ago

      My Mom was born in North Tonawanda, nearby the falls, so we got to visit the falls many times, including when they turned off the American side to see what they could do about the rocks at the bottom. It's an amazing place.

    • fifta profile image

      fifta 4 years ago

      Thanks for the info, it sounds great. I plan to go to Niagara in the next few weeks. Will keep this attraction in mind.

    • profile image

      lionmom100 4 years ago

      These are wonderful photos. I can feel the spray.

    • Laurabpeterson profile image

      Laurabpeterson 4 years ago

      I've never been to Niagra Falls (at least I don't recall...if I did go with my family, I would have been too young to remember). I'd love to go though! Thanks for the information, great lens!

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 4 years ago from Redcar

      A wonderful read - thank you.

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 4 years ago

      Great photos

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 4 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      Wonderful pictures and description of Niagara Falls :D

    • Vera-S profile image

      Vera-S 4 years ago

      Would love to visit Niagara. Amazing photos.

    • rob-hemphill profile image

      Rob Hemphill 4 years ago from Ireland

      Would love to visit Niagara one day. It must be a stunning feeling viewing it from a low vantage point.

    • MomTips profile image

      MomTips 4 years ago

      Love Niagara in summer and winter as well :)

    • pheonix76 profile image

      pheonix76 4 years ago from WNY

      I love visiting Niagara Falls -- thanks for sharing :)

    • pheonix76 profile image

      pheonix76 4 years ago from WNY

      I love visiting Niagara Falls -- thanks for sharing :)

    • CyberPappy profile image

      CyberPappy 4 years ago

      We've got a Cave of the Winds out here in Colorado by Pikes Peak. Never knew there was one at Niagara Falls. Nice lens.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 4 years ago

      I have been to Niagara many times, but I don't remember the cave... :) Thanks for this interesting piece!

    • profile image

      Sue-DN 4 years ago

      I lived in Toronto for a few years during my childhood and visited the Falls at that time. Not sure I could get out on that wooden platform now though as it looks a teeny weeny bit scary!

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 4 years ago from Alabama USA

      This look like such a fun trip.Thanks for sharing it with us. I hope to visit Niagara Falls someday.

    • KarenHC profile image

      Karen 4 years ago from U.S.

      We took our kids to Cave of the Winds when they were small, and on that particular day I think the wind and/or water was harder than usual, and I felt that if I had let go of the hand of my youngest son, he would've been blown away at one point. That was scary, but the rest of that hike was interesting :-) Your photos here bring back mostly good memories of our visit!

    • JohnTannahill profile image

      John Tannahill 4 years ago from Somewhere in England

      I live in the UK but I've been to Niagara Falls three times. I would go again any day if I found myself nearby. I drove down from Toronto when I was visiting. I've never been to the US side of the Falls though.

    • hntrssthmpsn profile image

      hntrssthmpsn 4 years ago

      I've never been to Niagara Falls, though it's on the (long!) list of places I'd love to see. The Cave of the Winds looks magical, and I love your awesome rainbow shots!

    • shellys-space profile image

      Shelly Sellers 4 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      Thanks for sharing your vacation pictures and giving us a tour of the Cave of Niagara Falls!

    • LisaDH profile image

      LisaDH 4 years ago

      I loved the photo of your son getting drenched and your comment about it. So true!! My son is 12, and he would definitely want to get soaked to the skin doing this!