Cave of the Winds – Freak of Nature

From natural lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and mountains to some of the most outstanding man made monuments and sites, New York is the one place in the world that never fails to impress.

Apart from the incredible sites and structures in the city, another fantastic quality about New York is its prime location.

Sharing the Northwestern border with the neighboring country Canada means that both Ontario and New York get to share one of the most astounding and powerful wonders of the world;  Falls.

Apart from visiting the great American Falls, part of the Niagara Falls owned by New York, for its undeniable natural beauty, overwhelming appeal, and therapeutic ambiance, people from all over New York and the rest of the USA visit this excellent tourist destination to witness a close-up of the falls from the remains of an ancient natural cavern; the Cave of the Winds.

Although the Cave of the Winds is no longer an actual cave since the 1900s, it is still the name people know it by.

Keep reading below to learn more about the location of the Cave of the Winds, its historical and geological significance, and what compels people from all around the country to visit it.

Where is the Cave of the Winds Located?

New York has been a home to some of the most beautiful and mysterious caverns the world has ever seen. One such natural cavern that used to be a prime destination for the people of northwestern New York, is the Cave of the Winds.

Located on the Goat Island Road, in Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara County, New York, this ancient cavern used to be beautifully nested behind the Bridal Veil Falls, at the American part of the Niagara Falls.

People who visited the Cave of the Winds got the chance to stand inside the cave, at the base of the gorge, and witness the sheer power of the waterfall, closer than otherwise possible.

Today, although the Cave of the Winds is no longer a cavern, it is still a historic site for which people travel 50 meters down into the Niagara Gorge, via an electric elevator, to witness the remains of the ancient cavern, and to be enchanted by the waterfall from the nearest possible base.

In order to visit this phenomenal tourist destination, visitors are required to purchase a ticket at the Cave of the Winds Plaza, on Goat Island.

Moreover, the visitor has the option to either visit by themselves, with a group, or as a part of a school’s educational field trip.

The History of the Cave of the Winds

First discovered by Joseph W. Ingraham, in 1834, the Cave of Winds was a natural cavern, sitting behind the Bridal Veil Falls, which is a relatively smaller waterfall located beside the American Falls, in Niagara County.

With an original estimated volume of 396,240 cubic meters, Cave of Winds was an overhanging ledge that was named after the Greek God of the Winds; ‘Aeolus’. By 1879, the Cave of Winds became a popular tourist destination that had a $1 USD visitation fee.

Over the years of the natural cavern’s life, multiple accidents took place that affected the cave’s and its visitors’ safety. For instance, in 1857, a rock fall happened at the mouth of the cave, and in 1920, some rocks from the cavern’s ceiling fell and killed three people.

In 1925, elevators were installed to make the descent easier for its visitors; however, despite the ongoing developments, there was no way to ensure the cavern’s safety when nature itself was doing everything to erode and destroy it.

Eventually, in 1955, the Cave of Winds was finally agreed to be destroyed by a dynamite blast, in an attempt to ensure that no person will be tempted to visit it ever again.

Today, although the Cave of Winds is no longer an actual cavern, it is still a popular destination that allows its visitors to travel down to the bottom of the Niagara Gorge, over a series of wooden decks, just to experience the exhilarating thrill of standing behind the great Niagara Falls.

The Geology

Back in the day, when the Cave of Winds was still very much alive, its geology consisted mainly of the Lockport Dolostone rocks, along with a little limestone, and a few kinds of gems.

Today, most of the cavern’s natural geology has been replaced by wooden decks and platforms to ensure its stability and strength. 

Things to do at the Cave of the Winds

  • Stand at the base of the tremendous Niagara Waterfalls, and experience its sheer power and unmatchable roar
  • Watch the education short film played at its entrance
  • Visit some of the other attractions at the Niagara Fall State Park, such as the aquarium, hiking trails, observation tower, gift shop, etc.
  • Stay back for the beautiful firework display
  • Enjoy the many dining options at the state park

What Should You Pack Before Leaving for Cave of the Winds

  • A pair of dry clothes
  • Water shoes or an extra pair of shoes
  • A towel
  • Camera (ideally a waterproof one)
  • A plastic, waterproof, hooded raincoat (although one can also get it from the Cave of Winds Plaza)
  • Your favorite snacks and drinks (ideally pack a hot drink to keep yourself from catching a cold)

Final Thoughts

Wondering what standing close to the powerful Niagara Falls feels like? The overwhelming emotions you will feel will be a blend of pure excitement, wonder, and a little bit of fear.

Hence to witness the thunderous roars of the Niagara Falls, plan a visit to the Cave of the Winds, New York, and experience one of the most spectacular natural sites the country has to offer.

The McClain Family

We hope we helped. Please let us know of any place that you want to know about in NYS or if we did a poor job with any part of this. Our goal is to help as many people as possible.

Recent Posts