Whirlpool State Park proves that the Niagara region’s natural beauty doesn’t end with Niagara Falls. With hiking trails, picnic tables, Niagara River views, and an impressive whirlpool, this park is a great place to spend a few hours. Thanks to the highly oxygenated water, there’s good salmon and trout fishing here, too.
Situated on the grassy, wooded area beside Niagara Gorge, the whirlpool is a natural formation downstream from Niagara Falls. It was created by the enormous volume of water passing through. A public learning center encourages visitors to find out more about the park and its natural features.
Visitors on day tours to the US side of Niagara Falls often make a quick stop at Whirlpool State Park. Scenic helicopter tours are also available, from which you can see the park and the whirlpool from above. Visit independently if you want to spend a bit more time in the park. Pack a picnic and hit the trails, or just relax.
Things to Know Before You Go
- While the park is open year-round, the restrooms are only operational between mid-April and late October.
- The park’s natural history room is open daily from May to September, and only during weekends the rest of the year.
- The park is to the south of the 42-acre (17-hectare) Devil’s Hole State Park, which also overlooks the Niagara Gorge. It’s worth combining a trip to the two parks for a leisurely day out in nature.
How to Get There
Aside from organized bus tours, the Discover Niagara Shuttle is a convenient way to visit Whirlpool State Park, on the US side of the Niagara Gorge, near Lewiston. Park your car and explore the Niagara region on this hop-on hop-off shuttle, which connects 15 sites along a 14-mile (22.5-kilometer) route.
When to Get There
The park is at its best during summer and fall, when the weather is fine and the greenery and foliage are at their most colorful. Fishing is best during fall and winter, but winters here are cold and snowy, so dress appropriately. The park is open from dawn till dusk throughout the year.
African-American History at Lewiston
Lewiston, near Whirlpool State Park, is a small town with an interesting history. The Freedom Crossing Monument honors Lewiston’s place on the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes across the US that runaway slaves used to escape to Canada in the 19th century. As Lewiston is within sight of Canada, many slaves passed through here on their way to freedom.