Posts From The Road: Niagara Falls

American Falls: American Falls as seen from Luna Island, a tiny island that separates American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. The elevation of the Niagara River is almost 200 feet higher above the falls compared to the elevation at river level following the falls. Photo by Gary Warren/

Formerly of Los Alamos

Niagara Falls consists of three falls in the Niagara River, which separates the U.S. and Canada. The river is only about 36 miles long flowing in a northerly direction from Lake Erie in the south to Lake Ontario in the north. The falls are about midway between the two Great Lakes. 

The three falls that make up Niagara Falls are the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls. The American and Bridal Veil Falls are on the U.S. side of the river and Horseshoe Falls is mostly on the Canadian side of the river. The falls are separated by two islands, Goat Island and tiny Luna Island.

A much larger island, Grand Island, divides the Niagara River into a west branch on the Canadian side and East Branch on the U.S. side of the river while flowing around Grand Island located a few miles upstream from the falls. The river then converges together after flowing around Grand Island as it makes its way to the Niagara Falls. Several other smaller islands can be seen in the river as well.

The largest of the three Niagara Falls is Horseshoe Falls. The falls was named for its U-shape similar to the bend in a horseshoe. Horseshoe Falls tumbles almost 200 feet down and is 2,200 feet wide. The height of American Falls is about 110 feet to the top of a large pile of rocks at the base and almost 200 feet to the river level. American Falls is 850 feet wide.

That is a lot of numbers and information to say that the Niagara Falls are spectacular from all view points. Niagara Falls is not the highest falls in the world by a long shot but what makes these falls so impressive is the volume of water that continually flows over each of the falls.

We viewed American and Bridal Veil Falls from both sides. However, since the Canadian Border is still closed because of COVID, we were able to view Horseshoe Falls from the U.S. side. After seeing how the falls is situated, I believe the Canadian side would offer better views of Horseshoe Falls.

Another option for viewing the falls is from the river while aboard the Maid of the Mist tour boat. We took the tour boat to get a different view and perspective of the falls. Everyone boarding the boat was given a blue poncho to avoid getting soaked by the spray and mist that comes with the waterfalls. We thoroughly enjoyed the boat ride and the views. The ponchos protected us from getting soaked but we were not dry when we exited the boat. The sign of a successful tour!

Editor’s note: Longtime Los Alamos photographer Gary Warren and his wife Marilyn are traveling around the country and he shares his photographs, which appear in the ‘Posts from the Road’ series published in the Sunday edition of the Los Alamos Daily Post.

Horseshoe Falls: Horseshoe Falls is the largest of the three falls at Niagara Falls. This spectacular waterfall is 2,200 feet wide. The better view of Horseshoe Falls is from the Canadian side of the river which we could not visit because of COVID restrictions at the border. Photo by Gary Warren/

Sailors Boarding: Dozens of tourists dawn the blue poncho and board the Maid of the Mist tour boat. The short boat ride takes tourists near the base of the three falls giving them a different perspective and view of the falls from river level. Photo by Gary Warren/

American Falls from Tour Boat: American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls as seen from the Maid of the Mist tour boat. The large American Falls is 850 feet wide. Bridal Veil Falls, on the right, is separated from American Falls by tiny Luna Island which is only about 100 feet wide. Photo by Gary Warren/

Base of American Falls: Shown is the base of American Falls and the large piles of rocks known as talus slope at the base of the falls. Seeing the falls from the river level gives viewers a new appreciation of the force and volume of the waterfalls as the mist from the falls fills the air. Photo by Gary Warren/

Mist and Tour Boat: A view of the tour boat near the base of Horseshoe Falls as seen from the Horseshoe Overlook. We rode the tour boat later in the day. Perhaps this is why my photos of Horseshoe Falls from the boat are mostly a frame of white mist! Photo by Gary Warren/