Your Guide to Outdoor Adventure in Niagara
Niagara is known for the Falls and award-winning wines. But Ontario’s fertile area — a patchwork of rolling hills, farms, lakes, rivers, canals, and charming towns lined with handsome brick Victorians — is also ideal for outdoor adventures of all kinds. And, the region is just a short drive from Canada's Downtown, Toronto.
You want to see the fabled Falls, of course, but how about in a way that’s a little different? Try the Mistrider Zipline to the Falls with Wildplay Niagara Zipline. This is what we call sightseeing with a lot of adrenaline. You can rip 2,200 feet across the Niagara Falls river gorge at 40 mph for a perspective 220 feet above the river overlooking both the American and Canadian Horseshoe Falls. There are four parallel lines, too, so you can take the plunge with your buddies.
Canoer or kayaker? It’s hard to beat Ontario, home to 500,000 lakes and thousands of miles of rivers. Hire a guide to take you out or bring your own boat, then choose your level: Easygoing touring or backcountry adventure; day trip or wilderness adventure; whitewater or wildlife photography from a water perspective. Top paddling destinations in the Niagara Region are the 404-mile Waterfront Trail near Niagara-on-the-Lake, Chippawa Creek Conservation Area near Wellandport, and Long Beach Conservation Area on Lake Eerie. Or rent a stand-up paddleboard and see a lake from the water. Locals like Lake Eerie near Point Abino and its lighthouse, also a favorite surfing spot.
You can walk, backpack, and trek all over the Niagara Region. Explore on foot at one of the many parks; for example, Niagara Glen, Short Hills Provincial Park or the Woodend Conservation Area. The Riverwalk — part of The Great Trail — is a scenic path over the Peace Bridge continuing along the water, and includes green spaces, riverfront patios, pretty beaches, and festive community events in summertime along the route. Or tackle the famed Bruce Trail — one of Canada’s oldest and longest. The Bruce skirts the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, over 550 miles from the Niagara River to Tobermory, revealing varied terrain. Expect to see ancient conifers, thick forest, rushing waterfalls, badlands, and the signature limestone cliffs and clear cerulean waters of Bruce Peninsula National Park.
Angle for steelhead, bass, and trout in Niagara’s lakes and rivers. Hire a pro, such as Cast Adventures, to show you around. Or if you’re the competitive type, go for the big cash prize at June’s 444 International Walleye Tournament on Lake Eerie, with categories for pros and amateurs. The calm water wetlands, fields, and woods of Mud Lake Conservation Area make for fantastic angling — plus hiking, boating, and bird watching for some 250 species of songbirds, waterfowl, and raptors, including migratory flocks. Look for groups of 100 turtles sunning themselves under the many bridges.
If you like touring on two wheels, pedal the lovely, varied Niagara River Recreational Trail. Ride the 35-mile stretch south to north, cycling along the water from Fort Eerie to Fort George in historic Niagara-on-the-Lake. There are plenty of stops, services, views, and attractions. Pause for lunch, wine tasting, to tour a landmark site and learn about history, shop, and see the famous Horseshoe Falls and Niagara Gorge in Queenston. There are lots of biking options to consider.
It won’t be hard to find an outdoor adventure in the Niagara region — all you need to decide is which one. Before and after, sample the area’s other highlights: Wine, spa retreats, food, history, and theater.
Get the details at the Niagara website.