Cave of the Winds
Take a trip down to the base of Bridal Veil Falls and set foot on the famous Hurricane Deck in Niagara Falls, New York.
When you first hear about Cave of the Winds, you almost can’t believe it’s true. Can I really stand at the bottom of one of Niagara Falls’ towering torrents of water? Yes, almost every day of the year, but the experience is a must for summer visitors to Niagara Falls State Park, where thousands of people descend to the base of Bridal Veil Falls each day.
The attraction is located on Goat Island in Niagara Falls State Park, which offers all-day parking for $10. From there, travelers can explore the oldest state park in the U.S., taking in views from the top of Bridal Veil Falls, American Falls and Horseshoe Falls, and buy a ticket to Cave of the Winds. (Tickets are not sold in advance, so you must purchase admission on the day of your visit. Stop by early to get the timeslot you want.)
When it is time, visitors line up to enter Cave of the Winds Pavilion, home to a film presentation that delves deeper into the history of Niagara Falls and how renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted helped save the area from the industry and carnival atmosphere that dominated it during the 19th century. The film also details how Nikolai Tesla harnessed the power of the falls to generate electricity — alternating current that could be sent over long distances.
The brief and insightful presentation sets the stage for the elevator trip 175 feet down to the base of Bridal Veil Falls, but not before visitors don a poncho in order to stay dry. The boardwalks at the bottom, which travelers can explore at their own speed, offer incredible views of the falls. Be sure to spend a few moments at Hurricane Deck, a section where one can feel the true fury and power of the rushing water. Goat Island, Niagara Falls, New York 14303, 716/285-0705, niagarafallsstatepark.com