The last day of October started with a bold sunny morning. It couldn’t be better, as our plan was to visit Niagara Glen, one of the best hiking opportunities in Niagara area.
Niagara Gorge is the best-known canyon in Ontario, and maybe in the whole Canada. It starts at the base of Niagara Falls, and it ends 11 km downriver, near the town of Queenston, where the famous falls originated some 14,000 years ago.
The falls and the force of the river have eroded the soft shales and dolomitic limestone of the escarpment, leaving a deep and beautiful gorge.
Niagara River (with a length of 55 km) begins from Lake Erie, and flows over Niagara Falls to Lake Ontario. The turbulent waters flow over a series of rapids, and it is navigable only on some sections.
We stopped several times along our trail to marvel at the tempestuous waters, the boulders, and the American shore. Two countries, one river! I suddenly realized how close we are to the neighbouring country: U.S.
The nature colours are fading away, but we still remember the vivid foliage we’ve had a month ago, when the maple trees were shining high in the sky.
Beside the most famous Horseshoe Falls (the Canadian falls), and the American falls, separated by Goat Island, Niagara Whirlpool is also famous for its rapids. The continuous erosion by the river, combined with the sharp and sudden change of its flow, created a huge swirling, continuing the erosion in a rounded basin that extended a little bit from the course of the river.
The water is spinning fiercely in many areas, and we watched how the water is flowing uphill on the side of our shore, while the strong currents are pushing the main course downstream.
The geology, and the limestone boulders from the park made it a popular spot for bouldering. I could not believe how many small groups we could see along our way, giving a try to their skills, or just spending a beautiful day with their friends.
While most of the trails in the Niagara Glen are marked as moderate (Whirlpool trail is considered Difficult), the pristine land, the geological formations of the gorge may be a challenge for some hikers. Especially when the gorgeous landscape is distracting you, make sure to watch your steps carefully, as there are plenty of rocks you need to climb, and so many roots you need to step over.
It might take you a full day to hike all trails if you are in no rush, so take some snacks with you, and enjoy the nature!
Tip(s) of the day:
- sturdy footwear is recommended, as the trails are up and down through the rugged forest;
- attention to the wet surfaces;
- paid parking can be found nearby in front of Niagara Glen Centre, or Butterfly’s Conservatory.