A few weeks ago my sons and I were in upstate New York checking the boxes on a few bucket list items. Obviously exploring Niagara Falls was definitely on the ticket. Cave of the Winds was one of our little adventures. At first it felt like it might be an anti-clamatic adventure since we had already explored the falls from the perspective of the Made of the Mist boat ride.
Let me just tell you this little excursion is fully worth your time! My sons and I had a blast! It was pretty funny putting on the stupid looking disposable sandals at the top of the falls (especially when one of your sons forgets his shoe size and gets a sandal that wouldn’t fit a four year old girl’s foot). At the top you take an elevator roughly 150 feet down to river level. You emerge from he elevators into a very cool tunnel that leads you out to day light. Then you put on your “Teletubby” yellow rain parkas and waddle like rubber ducks out onto redwood planking.
The goofiness ends there as this is truly a magnificent experience. The bridal veil falls are a sight to behold from underneath and reach tropical storm-conditions with wind gusts of more than 60 mph. As you ascend the stairs and get closer and closer to the falls the pressure and wind generated is just amazing. My sons and I had a blast trying to steady ourselves at the top and watching our measly human bodies being pushed around easily.
The “cave” part of this attraction is what I’d have loved to been able to explore but sadly it has been closed to the public for many years. In 1841 the cave behind the Bridal Veil was discovered and tours for the very adventurous were opened to the public. The cave measured 100 feet by 30 feet and must have been an amazing sight to experience from the inside of the cave.
The cave was closed in the 1920’s due to rocks falls (but reopened a few years later on the exterior of the falls). The interior of the cave was closed completely in the 1950’s due to a massive rock fall and subsequent dynamiting of overhangs after it was deemed completely unsafe by engineers.
If you have a chance check out the old photos they have displayed when you get back up top. When the Niagara River froze completely, in the early 1900’s, there were some amazing photographs taken that were just stunning. There is also some history on how difficult of a physical stunt it was to get behind the falls. It was believed the Natives used this cave long before our time here. The conspiracy theorist in me believes there is still a cave or something behind the falls. The attraction would provide perfect cover for an amazing hiding spot, wouldn’t it?
Fun fact: The cave was originally named after the Greek god of Wind, “Aeolus”.