Did you know Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest state park in the United States? It’s a sign of how deeply the region values the beauty of the natural landscape — and how easy it is to get out and enjoy it. With a vast network of walking trails crisscrossing the park, it can feel overwhelming to choose which trails to hike in Niagara Falls.
Let us help! We’ve considered popularity, ease of access and, of course, difficulty levels to pick our favorites for the perfect summer hike. Remember to always bring the trail map with you, either printed or downloaded to your phone (in case you don’t have mobile service or Wi-Fi), and plenty of water! These are the best hiking trails in Niagara Falls, no matter your skill level.
All Ages: Great Gorge Scenic Overlook Hike
Start at the Niagara Gorge Trailhead Center at Niagara Falls State Park, the gateway to multiple hiking trails. If you have a wide age range in your party, head for the Great Gorge Scenic Overlook Hike, which offers beautiful vistas without arduous climbing. This is an easy, one-hour round-trip hike with no age requirements. But even with the easier hike, sturdier footwear is still recommended — and don’t forget to stick to the marked paths. If you’re up for a longer hike, you can head out from the trailhead center on another route once you return.
Kid-Friendly: The Town of Lockport Nature Trail
Designated as the town’s first park, this natural treasure offers miles of walking trails through wooded areas, wildflowers and waterfalls. For those with kids, the trails are easy to navigate and the benches throughout are ideal for a quick snack break. Stand in the presence of two huge oak trees, the largest measuring 8-feet in diameter. Parts of the trails are gravel, so wear appropriate footwear for some potential mud. The trail is about a 40-minute drive from Niagara Falls, so plan your trip accordingly.
Beginners: Goat Island Scenic Walk
Chances are, you’ll go to Goat Island to get up close to the Falls, but the roughly 2-mile walking path that loops around the island offers an easy and fun hike for those who are new to it. You’ll experience amazing views of the Horseshoe Falls and Bridal Veil Falls from a paved and landscaped trail that allows for plenty of stopping and photo-snapping. You can finish your route with a stop at the Top of the Falls Restaurant for a meal with unbeatable views.
Medium: Devil’s Hole
This 2.5-mile hiking trail begins at the parking lot for Devil’s Hole State Park, continues down into the gorge and then back up to end at Whirlpool State Park by way of an old rail bed. The descent is on an aging stone staircase (currently under renovation and reopening in spring 2018) and does require some care, but the view of the swirling and rushing water at the bottom is worth it. The trail is difficult to navigate in the dark, so make sure to time your outing appropriately.
Advanced: Whirlpool Rapids Adventure Hike
This is one of the more difficult, but popular, hikes in the region. Start off on the Niagara Gorge Rim Trail and descend steeply into the gorge to see the rushing currents in Whirlpool State Park. Follow the bright blue waters of the Niagara River to the whirlpool, which makes for an excellent stopping point. Of course, be careful as you walk near the water — don’t fall in! The water speeds along the rapids at 22 miles per hour. But don’t worry — for hikers willing to lace up their shoes and commit to a little workout, this trail is worth the exertion.
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