Niagara Falls is one of Canada’s most popular ecotourism destinations and it is one of the most famous and beautiful waterfalls in the world.
But when many people visit Niagara Falls for the first time, they are shocked by just how urban and developed the area around the waterfalls is. It looks a lot like the Las Vegas of waterfalls!
However, most tourists don’t realize is a short drive away you will find many more spectacular waterfalls and natural wonders on the Niagara Escarpment.
The Niagara Escarpment UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
The Niagara Escarpment is a UNESCO World Heritage Biosphere Reserve that has hundreds of waterfalls and is a 750-kilometre ridge of fossil-filled dolomitic limestone dating back 450 million years that stretches Niagara Falls to Tobermory in the Canadian province of Ontario.
The Niagara Escarpment has the oldest forest ecosystem and the most ancient old-growth forests found in eastern North America.
This area has the highest plant biodiversity in Canada and is renowned for its hidden waterfalls, caves, rare orchids and wind currents that allow raptors to glide effortlessly on its currents for hours at a time.
In First Nations languages, the Niagara Escarpment is often referred to as “the place where the land meets the sky” and it has been a sacred place of pilgrimage for 1000s of years as it was the first habitable land to reappear after the last ice age roughly 10,000 years ago.
Ontario is an Iroquoian word meaning “land of shining waters” and Niagara means “thundering waters”. The Iroquois is a popular name for the First Nations group that called themselves the Haudenosaunee, which means “the people of the longhouse”.
I have found the most accessible hiking along the Niagara Escarpment is at the two ends of the Bruce Trail along the Niagara River Gorge and Short Hill Provincial Park to the south and the Bruce Peninsula to the north.
The Natural Wonders of the Niagara Escarpment
Here are the 7 natural wonders along Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment, one of the best ecotourism destinations in Canada:
1. Niagara Falls
2. Nassageweya Canyon
3. Short Hills Provincial Park
4. The Grotto
5. The Blue Mountains
6. The Lions Head
7. Flowerpot Island
These are the must-see natural wonders found on the Niagara Escarpment. There is so much more to see than just Niagara Falls!
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