Warm weather has a way of reinvigorating our adventurous souls. Rising temperatures, longer days, sunshine everywhere – we want to move, we want to be outside, we want to explore and push our limits. In our – Adventure & A Beer Series we highlight fun ways for Western New Yorkers to be active outdoors. Enjoy!
It’s combination of greenery, rocks, powerful rapids, and open views which is unparalleled in this area. It’s an annual must-visit for everyone who loves a great hike, connecting with nature, or just being outside.
The Niagara River has carved it’s gorge over centuries of erosion. It begins at the base of Niagara Falls and winds all the way up to Ontario – where the falls originated about 12,500 years ago. Given its connection to Niagara Falls, the river features numerous sections or rapids including the well-known Devil’s Hole.
Hiking the gorge can be strenuous if you’d like, but there are trails and views for everyone. My favorite way to see the gorge is the Niagara Falls Gorge Trail which starts off with steep stairs and eventually meanders along Whirlpool and Devil’s Hole rapids. Hikers can take it up to 6.2 miles one way, or turn around whenever they’ve had their fill.
Other hikes the New York State Park System encourages include:
- The Artpark Gorge Trail is a relatively easy stroll that runs along the Niagara Escarpment and offers views of the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge.
- Devil’s Hole Trail is a mid-level hike that runs 2.5 miles round trip and takes visitors past Giant Rock and Devil’s Hole rapids. This hike does introduce some elevation change and may require hikers to catch their breath once or twice along the way – but you’ll want to stop to take in the views a time or two anyway.
- Whirlpool Rapids Trail is one of the tougher stretches of the gorge and will require a bit of “boulder hopping,” stair-climbing, and traversing narrow section. If you’re up for it, you’ll have up-close views of some of the most powerful and dangerous rapids in the world.
*Disclaimer: Here’s the thing, you’ll enjoy any of these hikes. Just be sure not to bring your swimming trunks as the speed and strength of the water along the gorge is dangerous and deadly. These are rapids and views best enjoyed from land – but definitely worth a visit.
The Griffon Gastropub
2470 Military Rd., Niagara Falls, NY 14304
When you’re debating how far you want to hike the gorge – 4 miles, 8 miles, 200 meters – try to keep yourself going by thinking of the great food and beer you can enjoy when all is said and done. Our recommendation? Head to The Griffon Gastropub where you’ll find 50 beers on tap and a menu of interesting options including burgers, mac and cheese, and more. It all tastes good after a great day of hiking.
This post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated.