Marvel at the relentless power and beauty of the White Water Walk and see how the deep and narrow Great Gorge was created. Trillions of gallons of water are forced into this accelerating trough. Discover Raging White Water! The White Water walk is like no other, long a boardwalk at the very edge of one of the world's wildest stretches of whitewater! Marvel at the relentless power and beauty of nature and see how the deep and narrow Great Gorge was created. Trillions of gallons of water are forced into this accelerating trough - the sight will take your breath away! White Water Walk is a mere 4 km north of the Falls, on the WEGO bus route, near the Whirlpool Bridge. Within walking distance of the Niagara Falls Ontario train and bus stations. Free parking available.
This attraction is wheelchair accessible except for 2 small viewing areas which are reached by stairs. At White Water Walk, you'll ride an elevator down 70 meters, then walk along a tunnel that is 73 meters long. The Boardwalk beside the rapids is 305 metres (1,000 feet or ¼ mile) and stairs lead to two observation areas at the edge of the River.
The water travels at different speeds along the length of the Niagara River. South of the Falls where the river is wide and slow, the maximum speed is about 40km/h. Near the brink of the Falls, a speed of 109 km/h has been recorded. As the water travels through the Whirlpool Rapids at White Water Walk, it is traveling at about 48km/hr or 30mph, creating the Whirlpool Rapids - "Class 6 white-water rapids". Rivers are rated on a scale of 1 to 6 in eastern North America, and 1 to 10 in western North America. The Colorado River is the benchmark for white-water, where some sections are Class 5 and 6 and the flow is 60,000cfs. White Water Rapids - Class Definitions Class 1: Little to no current. Small waves with no obstacles. Class 2: More current than Class 1 with bigger waves, but no major obstacles. Class 3: Rapids are longer and more turbulent. Bigger waves, holes and stronger currents than Class 2. Generally considered intermediate. Proper guide training is a prerequisite for safe navigation of Class 3 and above. Class 4: Steeper, longer and containing more obstructions than Class 3. Multiple obstacles to maneuver around. Trained guide is necessary. Class 5: Strong currents and big waves. Several boulders and holes. Has a greater potential to hold and flip boats. Class 6: Extremely difficult to successfully maneuver due to significantly steeper vertical drops and boulders. Usually considered unrunnable.
The Whirlpool Rapids consist of 4 kilometers of 3-5 meter standing waves, making this stretch of whitewater the largest/finest series of standing waves in North America. These standing waves are thought to be caused not by rock obstructions on the bottom of the river, which is probably swept clean here, but by the sheer force (volume and speed) of the water being forced through the narrowing of the gorge at this point. From here the water races into a part of the river called the Eddy Basin, which in turn opens out into the Whirlpool. The 90-degree turn in the river is the point at which a geological catastrophe began 4,500 years ago. Here the Falls intersected the ancient St. David’s Gorge. The Whirlpool Rapids were created in just a few days, possibly hours, by the event that started at the Whirlpool 4,500 years ago. Having turned into the more ancient/pre-existing riverbed, the falls then tore out the glacial debris that filled the older gorge, re-establishing as a falls again only when it reached the area of the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge. Today the 90-degree turn in the river provides a unique view of two world-class whitewater rapids: upriver, the Class 6 Whirlpool Rapids, and downriver, the Class 5 Devil’s Hole Rapids. The Whirlpool Aero Car offers visitors the only opportunity to look directly into the eye of this gigantic whirlpool. But there’s more than Ice Age history here. This site also provides visitors with an excellent view of the 410-million year old rock layers of the Niagara Gorge. In these strata, infused under the sun with buff, rust, lavender and green, are the epic stories of plate tectonics, mountain-building, and fossils of marine creatures once alive, now gone forever. The river depth ranges to over 15 meters at the Whirlpool rapids and 38 meters at the Whirlpool. The deepest part of the Gorge is 98 meters at the escarpment. It gradually decreases in height until it reaches the Falls where it is 61 meters deep. It is 5 meters across the Gorge to the American side and the waves are 3 to 5 meters high!