Of the over 30 million visitors that make the journey to Niagara Falls every year, most are content with viewing the iconic waterfall from a boat, bridge, sightseeing viewpoint, or even a cable car. Of course, the Falls are spectacular no matter how you see them, whether by water, foot or wheels. But how about by air? For visitors who are seeking some (safe) thrills, ziplining in Niagara Falls can be just the ticket.
WildPlay Niagara’s MistRider is a network of four ziplines set 220 feet above Niagara Falls, and it’s just as wild as it sounds. If you’re looking for a unique and exciting experience that offers views over the Falls that few others have ever seen, then this is it.
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This high-speed sport was first created as a practical way to move supplies in rural, mountainous terrain, but is now a firmly established form of eco-tourism in the Americas. It’s a thrilling recreational activity that allows participants to fly through the air suspended by a sturdy cable while enjoying fantastic views. As of 2016, it is no longer necessary to board a plane or a helicopter to get panoramic aerial views of the Falls – and let’s be honest, dangling 220 feet in the air is much more exhilarating.
Of course, if you’ve never ziplined before, you may have a few questions– and even a few fears. Keep reading to learn why most people needn’t feel apprehensive about trying this exciting activity.
How does it work?
First, visitors take an elevator ride up to the Launch Pad and are given a helmet and a secure harness. Each harness has its own storage compartment, so there’s no need to leave any small belongings unattended. After you are strapped into your harness, riders are clipped onto the cable and sent flying down the zipline 2,200 feet across the Falls at speeds up to 70 km/hr!
Unlike many other Falls activities, here you’ll have a completely unobstructed, panoramic view of the Falls. There are no other visitors, boats, or buildings to block your view when you’re dangling above the Niagara Gorge with the thundering water of both the American and Horseshoe Falls right in front of you. The incredible aerial view is one of the most memorable panoramic views available at the Falls while remaining very accessible. From the guided safety briefing to the buses sitting ready at the end of the line to return you to the MistRider start point, each step is taken care of to make sure that you have only one responsibility: to enjoy the adrenaline-filled experience of a lifetime.
What kind of experience do I need?
Absolutely none. Don’t worry if you’re not the extreme sports type: ziplining is an activity suitable for beginners and seasoned adrenaline junkies alike. Helpful guides at the Launch Pad will ensure that you are wearing your harness correctly and will teach you how to properly operate the easy-to-use equipment. There is no free falling or physical impact involved, so no athletic ability or strength is required. It’s as simple as sitting back in your harness and letting gravity propel you along the cable to incredible views of the Falls!
When should I go?
The WildPlay MistRider complex has varied hours depending on the season and day of the week, but is open between 10AM and 4PM until November 25, with longer hours on weekends and during the summer. For an even more visually spectacular experience, you can book a nighttime ride all week during the summer and on autumn weekends.
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Want to see the Falls at night from a different vantage point? Rocket down the zipline while watching the mesmerizing light show that illuminates the Falls every summer evening at 10PM. If anything could up the thrill factor of this ride, it’s flying through the dark evening sky over the Falls illuminated by thousands of colourful lights.
What should I wear?
It’s important to wear close-fitting clothing that will not dangle or get caught in the zip line as you fly. WildPlay also requests that riders with long hair tie it back and that shoes be secure on the wearer’s feet (no flip flops!). A t-shirt and leggings or long shorts with closed-toed shoes would be the perfect outfit for ziplining to ensure maximum comfort and safety.
Is it really safe?
Yes, ziplining is very safe. MistRider Niagara provides all necessary safety equipment for each rider including helmets and harnesses, and all equipment is securely fastened and checked by a guide before riding. The company also enforces minimum age and maximum weight limits to ensure that the equipment can properly accommodate each guest, and cameras must be attached to their owners by a strap or mount. Guides are also placed at the beginning and end of each zipline to help with launching and landing to prevent any potential injuries. These measures should allow all visitors to feel safe and comfortable on their ride.
Of course, very elderly visitors and those with health conditions or limited mobility should check with the company for advice on whether to try the zipline. When in doubt, always consult a medical professional before engaging in any athletic activity.
Read related: Tips For Visiting Niagara Falls With Elderly Travelers
What am I waiting for?
Only you can answer that! Visit the WildPlay Niagara MistRider Zipline website to book your ride.
About the Author
Jaclyn Gruenberger is a Canadian writer and travel enthusiast. She loves hiking, photography, the ocean and a good road trip, which is why she moved to British Columbia and then Australia before returning to her home city of Toronto, where she lives now. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter.