Anyone who has ever traveled to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and ridden the “Jungle Cruise” attraction is probably familiar with the joke that many captains tell, in which they promise to show cruisers what the “back side of water looks like.” The joke, of course, is that the boat travels under a cascade, allowing you to view the falls from both sides.
All joking aside, it is possible to the see the other side of a far more impressive waterfall in Niagara Falls. While most people are content to experience the thundering waters from a cruise like Hornblower Cruises, or to view the falls from the comfort of their hotel, experiencing the falls on land from just a few feet behind them is an experience unlike any other. There are several ways to get this unique view of the Niagara Falls.
Journey Behind the Falls Tour
The Journey Behind the Falls tour takes you behind Horseshoe Falls, on the Canadian side of the river at Table Rock. On this tour, you’ll take an elevator down 150 feet through bedrock tunnels, and then traverse another tunnel to the two observation decks. Each deck is located just a few feet from the water, which flow past at an astounding rate of nearly 2,800 cubic meters per minute at a rate of 65 kilometers per hour.
While not an outdoor attraction behind the real falls, Niagara’s Fury is a 4-D, theme-park style attraction that provides a unique look at the creation of Niagara Falls. This experience allows you feel what it was like when the falls were created, from the cold temperatures to the pounding rains and ever-present mist. The floor moves, the wind blows and you’ll feel as if you’re really at the water’s edge — even though you are safely indoors. You can purchase a combination ticket for Niagara’s Fury and the Journey Behind the Falls tour.
Cave of the Winds Tour
Located on the American side of the falls, the Cave of the Winds Tour take visitors behind Bridal Veil Falls, the smallest of the three waterfalls that comprise Niagara Falls. Like the Journey Behind the Falls tour, Cave of the Winds begins with an elevator ride, this one 175 feet down into the gorge. From there, you can traverse a set of wooden walkways along the edge of the river (which are dismantled every fall and then rebuilt into the bedrock each spring to ensure safety) as the water rushes past. The final stop on the tour is the Hurricane Deck, where it feels like hurricane conditions all the time.
All of the “behind the scenes” tours of Niagara Falls provide rain ponchos for guests; the Cave of the Winds tour includes a pair of specially designed safety sandals as well. Still, consider bringing a change of clothing, and carry a waterproof camera or protective gear to prevent damage to your expensive photography equipment. Each experience takes about 45 minutes to an hour, but the impressive views and opportunity to experience the falls from a different perspective make it time well spent.