Friday, June 12, 2020

High Water at the Niagara Whirlpool Trail loop

The Niagara River turns 90 degrees about 5km downstream of the Horseshoe Falls creating a massive whirlpool about 100m down from the top of bank along the Niagara River Parkway. Running across the whirlpool is the Aero Car, silent due to Covid-19 precautions, while the river below has crept up to the treeline, hiding the usual rock beach that fishermen line in search of the big one.

Rugged paths run above and into the Niagara Gorge within the Niagara Glen Park. The winding trails can be accessed from the Niagara River Parkway, leading down stairways and into the valley that leads down to the water. Part of the wooden stairs are massive timbers that make for big steps for shorter people like me. After the stairs you are wandering down along twin trails which cross two pedestrian bridges and continuing until you hear the water and find the river bank. If you head left, following the trail near the edge of the water, you start to see the massive limestone blocks, cliffs and waterfalls which you have to wind through, climb over and squeeze through to continue the journey. At the exit of the Whirlpool, where the Gorge narrows and the exposed cliffs along the American side are close, you can find a great, flat table rock, perfect for picnics and enjoying the view.
The first set of stairways heading down into the gorge

Climbing along the rock walls as a small waterfall cools you off

Don't forget to bring out everything you bring in. Some still pollute even this section of nature and only with the help of superheroes that collect some of the garbage and haul it out of the park does the area remain a paradise.
Take advantage of the rest stops along the way

While the hike down is hard, you can feel your ass and thighs hurting as you go down, it is nothing compared to the hike back up. Take a break and enjoy the rest stops built into the trail, someone told us that the top section of stairs is known as heart attack alley as people see the end of the journey and start to rush.
Down at the water's edge

See more of the park after the jump.
Whirlpool Trail markers
The view from the table rock

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