A View from the Top : Niagara Falls

Of the millions of visitors that flock to the Falls each year, most of them will head to the river-side walkway with rails overlooking the thundering water. You can stroll down the path and feel the cool mist in the air, all the while stopping to take close-ups of the main attraction.

The walkway is a good way to see Niagara Falls, but it’s not the only way. Here are a few ways that visitors can get a better look at Niagara Falls, from above

Helicopter Tour

The Niagara Helicopters tour is easily the best, and most exciting way to see the Falls. Located a short drive up the River Road, you climb on board at the heli-pad before you are quickly whisked away into the air above. The craft swings into route, and the tour begins. Through your own personal headset, you receive details and descriptions of the attractions passing by beneath you via a taped commentary.

As you come closer to the Falls, you begin to see the mist rising in the distance, and feel the excitement. To the right lies the Canadian city of Niagara Falls, and the United States to the left. The pale blue river stretches on for kilometres (or miles) in both directions; twisting, turning and glistening in the bright, afternoon sun.

As the helicopter enters the Falls’ airspace it dips down on one side, providing a full view of the entire scene through the wide windows. Sitting against the window you feel like you’re dangling in mid air over tiny, toy city below. Next, it dips in the opposite direction to provide the same view for the passengers on the other side, and points you up into the sky.

Between all six passengers, hundreds of photographs are taken as the helicopter swings around a few more times before heading back. The excitement is still pulsing through you as you return to the landing pad, and disembark from the amazing journey. Take a look at your photos in the image room, or stop at the helicopter café before heading back to the city.

Ultimately, nothing can beat these amazing views and you will not be able to find anything nearly as thrilling as flying above North America’s most powerful waterfalls in a helicopter.

Tickets are $132 for adults, and well worth it in my opinon.

Stay tuned for a post about my own personal experience on Niagara Helicopters!

Skylon Tower

Looking for a more affordable way to view the Falls from above? The Skylon Tower boasts 360 degree views of Niagara Falls and the surrounding area.

You will board the elevator at the base of the Tower, and ride it all the way past the revolving dining room, and up to the top. The observation deck features indoor viewing, for those cold Canadian winters, and an outdoor caged viewing area for warmer weather. Both are accessible year round, and have amazing views. Geography coordinates line the windows, telling viewers what they are looking at, and what way they are facing.

Once you are done at the top, you can return to ground level for some shopping or entertainment, all without even leaving the Skylon Tower. The Tower isn’t quite as impressive as flying in a helicopter, but you will definitely get your money’s worth and have a great time.

And hey–why not take a moment for the perfect photo opportunity?

Tickets are $10.79 online, per adult.

Whirlpool Aerocar

The Whirlpool Aerocar isn’t exactly a view of the Falls, but it is still a view from above. This 1916 suspended, antique cable car wheels you out above the Niagara whirlpool, dangling in midair over the churning water below.

The car holds 35 passengers, which line three rows, and rotate positions once the car reaches the opposite side. On the way back, you take in a whole new view from the first time around, facing either the curve of the river, or down the long gorge toward Niagara.

The Whirlpool Aerocar may not be for the vertically challenged, but it’s entirely safe and secure. If you’re really too afraid of heights, just take the middle row where you don’t have to look directly down.

Tickets are $12.25 per adult.

Rainbow Bridge

Find yourself on a backpacker’s budget, but still looking to get a new perspective of the waterfall? Head down the opposite direction of the path toward customs and US border crossing. You will pass through a brief Canadian inspection before exiting, and be directed toward the entrance of the Rainbow Bridge. Here, you are free to walk as far as US soil, without actually going through US customs.

The coolest feature is that half way across; there is a line on the sidewalk which labels both Canada and the United States. You can set each foot on both sides and proclaim your divided locale, putting yourself in two countries at once. Another great feature about this spot? Look up. Niagara Falls lies dead ahead, at the perfect angle and height. Take all the time and photos that you want before heading back to Canadian soil (or American, if you should choose).

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10 Responses to “A View from the Top : Niagara Falls”

  1. Lori
    July 20, 2011 at 10:11 pm #

    WOW, and I mean, WOW! I saw many photos of Niagara Falls but these are simply great. Interesting tips too!

    • Seattle
      July 20, 2011 at 10:19 pm #

      Thanks a lot, glad you like them!

  2. Renu
    July 21, 2011 at 3:07 am #

    Amazing beautifully and accurately captured!!

  3. Nomadic Samuel
    July 21, 2011 at 9:48 pm #

    These photos are wicked! I’ve never seen NF from an overhead perspective.

  4. Seattle
    July 22, 2011 at 12:08 am #

    Thanks :] Yeah, it’s pretty cool, huh?

  5. Bluegreen Kirk
    July 28, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    All the photos I have ever seen of the Falls have been exactly as you described. From somewhere on the walkway. I haven’t seen anything capture the essence of Niagara Falls this well even on a postcard! The first two photos are just crazy, nice shots!

    • Seattle
      July 28, 2011 at 7:08 pm #

      Maybe I should try to make some postcards :p

      Thanks!

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