Follow hiking trails to witness the power of a whirlpool and the rapids of the Niagara River. Relax on grassy lawns while spotting abundant birdlife.
Whirlpool State Park runs along the east bank of the Niagara River, presenting the opportunity to experience the full force of a natural whirlpool and class V rapids. Follow the marked trails to viewpoints or observe the river from a picnic area. If you are feeling adventurous, step aboard a power boat to splash through the rapids.
The park has two levels to explore. Start at the street level, which has numerous scenic spots offering great views of the rapids and whirlpool. Bring a picnic and relax on the large lawns while children have fun on the playground. Visit the Gorge Natural History Room to find exhibits about the geology and history of the region. It’s open from Wednesday to Sunday.
Walk down the stone stairway to the river level and the start of a hiking trail. The trail leads north along the riverbank, allowing you to get close to the thundering water of the 125-foot-deep (38-meter) whirlpool. The trail continues past the river rapids to Devil’s Hole State Park. Watch for the park’s birdlife, including blue jays, downy woodpeckers, gray catbirds and golden-crowned kinglets. You can also fish for salmon here.
A fun way to experience the whirlpool and rapids is on a 45-minute power boat tour. Choose between a covered or open boat and sit back as the vessel powers through the Devil’s Hole Rapids and into the whirlpool. Tours depart from the village of Lewiston, which is a 10-minute drive from Whirlpool State Park. Find a schedule and prices on the official website of Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours.
Whirlpool State Park is on the U.S. side of Niagara Falls about 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) north of the falls themselves. Free parking is available at the entrance to the park. Public buses stop a short walk from the park’s entrance. The park is open daily and entrance is free. Restroom facilities are open from mid-April to late-October.