Niagara Falls White Water Walk

Unless you choose to join the cast of daredevils who have challenged Niagara Falls over the years, it is difficult to get any closer to the raging rapids of the Great Gorge than walking along the White Water Walk.
Operated by Niagara Parks in Niagara Falls, Ontario, the White Water Walk features a boardwalk that sits at the edge of one of the world’s wildest stretches of rapids.
The trip starts with an elevator ride down 70 meters (around 76 yards) then a walk for 73 meters along a tunnel that leads to the boardwalk, which stretches for about ¼ mile. Stairs lead to two observation areas at the river’s edge.
Long before White Water Walk was operated by Niagara Parks, the area was a popular destination. In 1876, a steam powered incline railway was built to take visitors down the gorge to the water’s edge. The attraction had multiple owners over the years, and each company made its own improvements, including the construction of a boardwalk along the edge of the rushing water.
In 1934, the Whirlpool Rapids Incline and the attraction’s buildings were destroyed by fire. A year later, Niagara Parks leased the property to a private company, Niagara Concessions. The new owner built a 230-foot elevator shaft and a 240-foot tunnel for a high speed elevator to offer easier access to the lower gorge.  A building adorned with cut stone was built at the top of the gorge to serve as a station and a souvenir store.
High water and ice often created problems for the owners. The original paths and walkways were frequently damaged and washed away.  When the Ontario Hydro and the Power Authority of the State of New York power plants started operating in 1957 and 1961 respectively, the water level in the gorge was lowered. New boardwalks were built above the water level, but the old path can still be seen in some places, demonstrating that present boardwalk would be underwater if the river levels were as high as they were in the 1940s.
Niagara Parks assumed operation again of what was then the Great Gorge Trip in 1989 and renamed it the Great Gorge Adventure – a Whitewater Boardwalk. The name was shortened to White Water Walk in 2003.
For more information about the White Water Walk, visit www.niagaraparks.com.
Before visiting the White Water Walk, visitors can experience the stories of the many daredevils who have challenged the falls and the gorge and see relics from their adventures are showcased, at the new Daredevil Gallery at Niagara IMAX Theatre. The daredevil exhibit features the world’s largest collection of Niagara Falls history, including actual barrels and artifacts along with the engaging stories of Niagara’s heritage and tales of the daredevils.
The natural splendor of Niagara Falls and the dramatic adventures of daredevils of the past are vividly presented in the IMAX movie, “Legends and Daredevils.” The exhilarating film details the remarkable vistas of the raging waters of Niagara Falls and tells the story of when Native peoples Native peoples worshipped the thunder spirits, and when the first European encountered the region. The movie also introduces viewers to daredevils like the Great Blondin, who completed a death-defying tightrope walk over the river in 1860, and Annie Taylor, a 63-year-old schoolteacher who became the first person to plunge over the falls in a barrel.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.