Niagara Falls is such a beautiful place. The river and the Falls themselves are so impressive, but some potential visitors might wonder what there is to do after they’ve seen them. Niagara has an impressive roster of sights and activities that don’t necessarily involve the Falls, many of which are exciting and invigorating outdoor pursuits that are fun for people of all ages and ability levels.
Niagara is located in what is known as the Niagara Escarpment, a unique geologic formation that is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The area is unlike any other, which makes it a treasure for those who love the outdoors.
Take a look at some of the outdoor activities that are available. No matter the season, there are several great ways to experience the beauty of this part of the world.
One of the easiest and most accessible ways to experience the scenic beauty of Niagara is to simply walk around in it. In and around the area of the Falls are over 15 kilometers of hiking and mixed use trails that are available to everyone. Various trails are accessible to hikers of all abilities and range in duration from easy hikes of less than an hour, to moderately difficult hikes of 6 or more hours.
Some of the more popular areas to hike are the Niagara Gorge Trail, Niagara Glen, Dufferin Island or the Botanical Gardens. For the truly adventurous, the Niagara River Parkway’s 56 kilometer trail is open for full or partial attempts.
As with any hiking pursuit, it is wise to be prepared. Check in with a ranger or official at the park, if possible. If not, advise a friend or a member of your hotel staff where you plan to hike. Carry water, snacks, a hat, rain gear and extra clothing.
Niagara is simply one of the best places in the country for cyclists. With kilometers of trails dedicated to cyclists, this area is a haven for riders of all abilities. Additionally, with the advent of the bike train from Toronto to Niagara, cyclists have more access to Niagara than ever.
For cyclists who prefer leisurely rides along relatively flat land, the Welland Canals Trail offers views of the ships going through the locks, or the Niagara River recreation Trail, which shows off the Falls in all of their glory. The Friendship Trail is perfect for those who like their cycling punctuated with stops at cafes along the way. All of these trails are perfect for beginners, or those groups who have riders of mixed abilities.
For the more adventurous cyclists, the Twenty Valley and Pelham areas contain steep hills and grades, but you’re rewarded with stunning views. Mountain bikers can check out Short Hills Provincial Park, but be advised that equestrians use these trails as well.
It seems there is always someone in every group who loves to golf. Niagara is the perfect place for a golf vacation, or simply a golf diversion.
There are several top notch courses to choose from in the Niagara area, including North America’s oldest golf course, Niagara on the Lake Golf Club, established in 1875. Rockway Glen Golf Club has the distinction of having its own winery, which is the perfect place to unwind at the end of a game. The Niagara area also boasts several golf instructors and golf schools to help you improve your game or to brush up on rusty skills.
For many people, a vacation just isn’t a vacation without camping. The Niagara area offers a host of campgrounds and RV parks, many of which are just a few kilometers from the Falls and other activities. In fact, access to the famed Niagara River Parkway Trail is a source of pride for many of the area’s campgrounds.
For those who prefer the convenience of cottages, many rental agencies specialize in providing exceptionally cozy accommodations to families and groups.
As you plan your Niagara Falls vacation, make sure to budget time to take in the beautiful scenery and abundant outdoor activities. A trip here just wouldn’t be the same otherwise.
About the Author: Camille Van Buren is a hiking and cycling enthusiast who authors a blog about her pursuits.