Niagara Falls is the collective name for three waterfalls that straddle the international border between Canada and the United States; more specifically between the province of Ontario in Canada and the state of New York in the United States. They form the southern end of the Niagara Gorge.
From the largest to the smallest, the three waterfalls make up the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls. The Horseshoe Falls lies on the border of the United States and Canada with the American Falls entirely on the American side, separated by Goat Island. The smaller Bridal Veil Falls is also on the American side, separated from the other waterfalls by Luna Island. Located on the Niagara River, which drains Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, the combined falls form the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world that has a vertical drop of more than 165 feet (50 m). Horseshoe Falls is the most powerful waterfall in North America in terms of vertical height and flow rate. Niagara Falls is 17 miles (27 Km) north-northwest of Buffalo, New York and 75 miles (121 km) south-southeast of Toronto.
The falls is famed both for its beauty and as a valuable source of hydroelectric power. Balancing recreational, commercial, and industrial uses has been a challenge for the stewards of the falls since the 19th century. On the Canadian side of the falls, a walkway stretches from above the falls all the way along the edge of the gorge, providing spectacular views. At night, the falls is lit up in different colors. Visitors can stand along a railing close to where the water tumbles 57 meters over the edge into the gorge. Just behind the viewing area is the Table Rock Welcome Centre with a restaurant overlooking the falls, shops, and an information and ticket booth where visitors can purchase tickets to the various attractions and tours.
Below the falls, the Niagara River flows through the deep walls of the gorge, between 80 meters and 300 meters across, forming the Whirlpool Rapids as the gorge narrows. The waters eventually flow into Lake Ontario. Journey behind the fall, one of the many attractions at Niagara Falls, offers a close up view of the falls from the base of Horseshoe Falls. From the Table Rock Welcome Centre, an elevator takes visitors down 45 meters to tunnels with viewing portals behind the falls and an observation deck near the lower edge of the falls. From here, visitors can look up at the wall of water coming over Horseshoe Falls and feel the rush of mist on their faces. This view offers a unique perspective and a completely different experience than viewing the falls from above.