Tunnel Below Niagara Falls Now Open for Visitors

A massive tunnel that was previously off-limits has opened for visitors to explore!

The massive roaring waters of Niagara Falls have been attracting visitors since the 19th century. But now, visitors have the opportunity to see something that has been off-limits up to this point.

Although the mighty waterfalls and picturesque views have been captivating tourists for all these years, Niagara Falls also spent a lot of that time generating power. The falls were home to a power station that operated from 1905 until 2006.

That hydroelectric station, originally operated by the Canadian Niagara Power Company, worked by diverting water from the Niagara River to run giant generators that took advantage of cutting-edge technology. From there, the water would go through a tunnel to flow out at the base of Horseshoe Falls, the biggest of Niagara’s three waterfalls.

It was a massive operation that powered the region and was once the largest hydropower facility in the Western world.

The Niagara Parks Power Station is Open to the Public

Niagara Parks Power Station
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Now, visitors to Niagara Falls can experience the awesome scale of this engineering marvel. The historic Niagara Parks Power Station, previously closed to the public, is the newest attraction.

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As part of the power station tour, guests can actually go down into the 2,200-foot-long tunnel that was excavated for the power plant. It’s the tunnel that served as the exit point for all the water that flowed through the giant generators. To get there, visitors ride a glass-enclosed elevator down 180 feet below. It dives past six levels of infrastructure that were essential to the hydroelectric process.

At the bottom of this is where you will find the massive tunnel where water would exit. It’s definitely a one-of-a-kind attraction and something that most people have never been able to see before. 

The tunnel was excavated all the way back in 1901. It was worked on by thousands of laborers with pickaxes, shovels, basic dynamite, and lanterns. The entire thing was constructed by humans without the use of electricity. That alone is astonishing.

As you near the end of the tunnel, you’ll start to see natural light pouring in. Once you get to the end, you’ll find an observation deck at the river’s edge – almost at the base of Horseshoe Falls. This is where the water from the tunnel originally poured into the river.

These days, it’s one of the coolest spots to see the awe-inspiring waterfalls from the newly constructed viewing platform. You can also get your people-watching on, as the tourist boats filled with passengers bob along at the foot of the falls.

Related: Natural Wonders in the United States Every Nature Lover Must See

Self-Guided Tunnel Tour

The self-guided tour is much more than just walking through the tunnel. You will be able to dive into the history of the power station and learn about the workers that kept it running for a century. You will find immersive exhibits, restored artifacts, and interactive storytelling. Discover unique architectural features as you get a first-hand look at how the power plant harnessed the power of the falls. For a more detailed experience, you can also purchase a guided tour of the main generator floor.

The self-guided tour that takes you down to the tunnel is included in regular park admission. So really, there’s no excuse not to check it out! The Niagara Parks Power Station is the only fully intact hydroelectric plant left from its era, so it’s definitely a one-of-a-kind experience. The visit to the power station and tunnel takes around two hours, and there are story markers to scan throughout the station to learn more.

The Station Transforms at Night

If none of that is enough, there is another really unique way to experience the Niagara Parks Power Station. At night, it is filled with sounds and lights!

The experience is called Currents, and it transforms the plant into an even more epic space. The immersive experience features 3D projection, interactive lights and imagery, and a breathtaking musical score. Projected effects will react to your presence as the soundtrack plays, providing a unique sensory experience.

Currents takes viewers through the history of Niagara Falls. It begins by showing the creation of the geological wonder as the waters flow down from the walls onto the floor. The Ice Age comes and goes, leaving a lush landscape and what we now know as Niagara Falls. The falls inspire engineers and inventors. You’ll see massive machinery begin to light up and come to life. And when the power station begins to go dormant, you can explore and use your movement to create currents and build momentum. As the projected effects react to your movements, the building will reawaken again.

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