Time to head north, that’s the direction of the downriver flow of the Niagara River below the Falls. If you’re a walker, and it’s a nice day, you can walk to the Whirlpool. You’ll walk along the Gorge, on a sidewalk of course. The first stop I suggest is the barrel that went over the Falls.
For those that don’t want to take a long walk, you can catch the We-Go Bus at several bus stops along by the Falls. It will take you right to the Whirlpool. Along the way you’ll see Red Hill’s barrel as you pass by. The bus will stop at The White Water Walk where you can get off and take a tour down to the rapids below.
The White Water Walk, where you’ll find Class 6 white water rapids. They are the largest in the world. You can walk along the boardwalk right beside the rapids. It’s a paid attraction as they have to take you down in an elevator through the rock side of the gorge. It’s worth the effort and the few bucks. If walking is an issue, then maybe you can skip the The White Water Walk.
Again, you can walk from the The White Water Walk to the Whirlpool, or you can take the We Go bus from the White Water Rapids attraction to the Whirlpool.
Once at the Whirlpool there’s lots of benches and table seats to sit and relax, have a drink or a snack. The Whirlpool is a great attraction, but if you miss all the information about it, you lose the excitement and interest in this unique attraction. Originally designed by Spanish engineer, Leonardo Torres Quevedo, the Whirlpool Aero Car has been soaring the Niagara Gorge since 1916. It has been updated over the years, so don’t think you’re getting on the original cable car.
The antique cable car is suspended from six cables and offers spectacular views of the swirling Niagara Whirlpool and the Class 6 whitewater rapids of the Niagara River. Although the Whirlpool Aero Car travels between two points on the Canadian shore, riders of this historic cable car actually cross the international border line between Canada and the United States a total of four times each trip due to the way the river turns. Below is an arial picture of the whirlpool during a calm period.
I always recommend the ride unless the day is crappy. You get some great pictures from the cable car, and seeing the whirlpool directly below is pretty awesome. But the history at this location is important to the whole Niagara Falls experience. About 5,000 years ago this was the location of Niagara Falls. The gorge you see leaving the whirlpool was the gorge below the Falls at the time. The Falls remained in this location for a couple of thousand years, then through the constant erosion from the Falls, broke through to an underground river.
The break wasn’t from behind the Falls, but instead to the side, thus the Falls made a 90-degree turn, causing the river to flow south, and causing a whirlpool in the pool that was below the falls. In the 5,000 years since the Falls changed course and moved to the present location, the gorge you’ve just walked along was formed.
That’s the end of this section of the tour, but you are across the street from one of the great rides at Niagara. The Niagara Helicopter Tour of Niagara Falls. I highly recommend the tour. It’s about 15-minutes and the views are beyond spectacular. Just leave the Whirlpool going up to the main road, go right and walk about half a block and you’ll see the Heliport, and probably helicopters landing and taking off. Enjoy.
Next you’ll need to have a car if you are not on a complete tour of the area. But there’s certainly a lot to see, and I encourage you to see it all. The next points of Interest are the Whirlpool Golf Course, the Botanical Gardens, The Butterfly Conservatory, the U.S. and Canadian Power Generating facilities, the Floral Clock with it’s 16,000 plants and accurate time, and finally on this leg of your tour, Queenston Heights National Historic Site and Park. Take the tour next.