Journey Behind The Falls

   A ‘Must-Do’ Niagara Falls Classic!

Not the Maid Of The Mist Boat Ride… Apparently there’s confusion sometimes!

You’ll need them on the balcony beside the falls!

Beside the Falls, go left… Behind the Falls, go right!

The Journey Behind The Falls is a ‘Must-Do’ Classic for Niagara Falls… It’s one of my absolute favorites, even after a dozen or more visits to the attraction over the years. For me it never gets old… it’s carefree and fun, and as with the rest of Niagara Falls, it’s very romantic when visiting with a special someone. It’s a very simple attraction… tourists descend in an elevator to three tunnels which have been drilled through the solid rock below the falls. One tunnel leads to a two-level balcony just beside the falls and the other two lead to small portals directly behind the falls. That’s it. Wearing plastic rain ponchos, you are free to spend as little or as much time as you like… there are no time limits.

Watching the Maid from the Journey Behind The Falls

You Are Here.. on the balcony of The Journey Behind The Falls!

As with many of the attractions at Niagara Falls, some very good advice to follow would be to arrive in the early morning as the attraction opens. Most tourists have not made their way to the Horseshoe Falls yet, so chances are you will find either short lines or no lines at all if you arrive early. This is good because in those cases you can often just proceed to the elevator and descend, whereas if you wait till afternoon, the lines will be so long you will probably have to wait in two lines… the first to buy your tickets, then the other to actually proceed to the elevator at the printed time on your ticket. (The activity ‘meters’ the amount of tourists going below in this way to prevent overcrowding.)

   A view from the balcony on a winter day (note icicles at upper right, behind the falls.)

Not luxurious, just a simple tunnel leading beside and behind Niagara Falls for incredible views!

Before embarking on this attraction, it’s important to understand that the tunnels below the falls are very spartan. They are concrete-lined corridors painted white, have incandescent lighting and some plaques and signs describing the geology and the history of Niagara Falls. There are often shallow puddles on the floors near the portals from the spray which can sometimes drift back a short distance. Some visitors have expressed surprise and disappointment when they see how simple the arrangement is after expecting something far more grand.

One Portal and….

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

… The other portal!  TONS of water falling past!

 

Niagara Falls, as with any tourist destination, is marketed with some degree of hyperbole… some obvious exaggeration to achieve a thrilling effect, as in ‘the earth ‘Shakes’ from the force of the water’, or ‘the falls are a ‘Deafening Roar’ in your ears’, and so on. The name of the attraction is the same sort of thing. For some, ‘The Journey Behind The Falls’ probably suggests a resplendent view of a great waterfall curving high overhead, falling majestically in front of the viewers while they traverse a dramatic boardwalk spanning a rocky cliff face. That would be so beautiful as to be dream-like, but nothing like that exists below the falls. What does exist is a two-level balcony beside the falls, and two viewing portals directly behind the falls, with torrents of water rushing past. It’s a waterfall, and it is what it is. That’s just fine, and let me tell you why even that is beautiful and very nearly dream-like, at least to me.

  A Winter Day’s view from the Balcony.  In any season, this is an amazing perspective which really shows how massive the Horseshoe Falls are!

It was nearly thirty years ago when I was a first-time visitor to The Journey Behind The Falls…. Way back when they were simply called ‘The Scenic Tunnels”. I was with a girl I was dating and was very much in love with her, and everything… the lights on the falls, the mist in the air, the roar of the falls in my ears, the happy and even joyous mood of the crowd all combined to make such a romantic atmosphere that I found putting on a raincoat and exploring the tunnels behind the falls to be one of the happiest occasions of my life. We went at night, and I remember looking at the curtain of water in front of me, and every so often I could make out the powerful colored lights shining directly on the front of the falls.

There was spray on my face and the earthy aroma of the river gorge was in the air. The crowds around us that night were either newlyweds or others like us, young couples in love… and the atmosphere was exhilarating. I had never been in a place like Niagara Falls, and when we were able to stand behind the great waterfall with the noise echoing around us, I remember thinking that there was just nothing in my life so far that had been as cool as that. Life changes, and I’ve since forgotten all about What’s-Her-Name…. but I’ve never forgotten The Journey Behind The Falls, and I’m happy to say that it feels just as romantic and exhilarating when I visit today with my Wife and Best Friend of nearly twenty-five years.

I am huge fan of The Journey Behind The Falls. I love the fact that it’s a simple attraction with concrete-lined tunnels and wet floors, as it’s all part of the experience of going behind Niagara Falls. I simply love it!

 

Detail of the winter mist.

 

 

My ‘Gotcha!’ Photo of the girl trying to take my photo in the tunnels of The Journey Behind The Falls attraction! “Oh dear!” was all she said as my camera flash knocked her system out of whack and required everything to be reset. She was a great sport about it though as she smiled and called for her supervisor. Nice folks these Canadians, always putting up with this silly American!


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