Niagara Falls in Winter – Getting Outside is a Known Mood Booster


Even if it is freaking cold outside! By the lone icy tree above, you might think Niagara Falls is a place to avoid come winter, but people are enamored with the sheer beauty of the season at the Falls. The last few years I, and the world media have been promoting the unique beauty only found in this place thanks to the massive raging waters of Niagara Falls.


So how was your snow storm, Jonas?

Did you hunker down as the world stopped around you?

Did you bond with others by complaining about winter. It is a heck of a lot harder to have a positive winter mindset when griping about winter.


Me, winter is an invitation to go out and explore. I took a walk to the Falls on Friday. Then again on Sunday.

The weather here is just par for the course, a few feet of snow and some road ice, no problem. We got away unscathed by this storm. Power was still chugging away, homes are heated, and as usual, chicken soup aroma wafted through the house. Layers of sweaters and fuzzy blankets to keep us warm. Candles add pleasant fragrance and warm light, complimenting the glow from the fireplace. I should show you that sometimes. I love candles for the only light in the room.


If you want to join crowds for fun, Niagara Falls is not that place. That is a good thing too. Winter the last few seasons had loads of people visiting by the busload due to The Frozen Falls false media blitz, images below from February 2015 in -20°F weather.

It was a cold, snowy, magical year and the Falls kept flowing despite persistent reports to the contrary. The Lower River was crusted with thick ice like might be found in North seas that make polar bears happy. And overjoyed they would be with all the salmon here. The Mighty Niagara just does not stop moving.

Falls2-17-15-1 Falls2-17-15

This year, the icy scene does not quite measure up, but at least it is about 30° warmer too. I have yet to see any measurable numbers of tourists during any of my recent visits. Usually, I am trekking around by myself.


Sunday, there was a handful of tourists enjoying the birds and one Channel 7 News guy shooting video. I got interviewed for the second time this week. We chatted all about my impression of shutting down the Falls for two years for bridge construction. Niagara Falls economy is in shambles and that will be the nail in the coffin if tourism is disrupted. I have to wonder why camera crews keep corralling me. Click the link above for my other chance to be on TV.


Above is the view on my scenic walking path to the Falls along the steep river gorge. Niagara Falls, Ontario is the skyline. Below is how the trees and vegetation bear the ice affront of the mist that the Falls tosses their way. All the trees and native garden are along my walking path.


The mist screens the view of modern life from one path. You can see more in the gallery below.

You want to take a seat? Probably not. They are ice encased.


Or have a view of the Canadian Falls? Not today. Your nose and eyebrows would freeze.


Or just look though the curtain of ice-covered twig filigree? Now that is a chilly view.


One thing you don’t want to do is dip a toe in the cold Niagara River, then take a ride over the Falls. Definitely not a good idea.


About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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49 Responses to Niagara Falls in Winter – Getting Outside is a Known Mood Booster

  1. You know I am very very fond of your photographs, Donna – always.
    As I was scrolling down I couldn’t help but laugh at those pensive little creatures! They look as if they’re thinking “my-o-my, no one is coming to look through my eyes today – and it’s such a beautiful view!” 😉
    Happy Monday and week to you, my dearest friend.

    • Thank you Marina. The little boy feeding birds was from Greece! His mother and father spoke just enough English to get by. I gave the boy seed to feed the birds and explained how the birds would come if he was very still. He was a little statue after his mother instructed him.

  2. My husband proposed to me at Niagara Falls in winter. It was beautiful. But we were dressed for the theater, not an outdoor expedition, and we didn’t stay long.

  3. absolutely beautiful! thank you for sharing. I feel sorry for those buried in snow and “ice” (hate the ice in winter, but do love the snow)…hope you all at least have a way to keep warm!?

    • Thank you. I have seen a place in Virginia got the record of snowfall this time with 4 feet of snow. Some community has to someday pass Buffalo last year with a bit over 7 feet in a few short days. Some roofs collapsed in that snow in November. I bet a lot of structures were reevaluated for roof loads.

  4. I really love your winter pictures Donna. Particularly the last ones (as well as your captions and those funny “field glass guys” with very human facial expression.
    Did I get that right? They are planning to shut down the Niagara Falls for two years due to bridge construction? Oh, I fear that could cause a lot of problems! It’s a rather long time which has to be bridged (so to say). May be people would come regardless. You can’t hide the falls completely so most probably they at least can cast an eye on the falls from a distance. But it certainly would largely affect the tourism and the local economy.

    Have a nice week!

    • Thank you so much, Michèle. The viewers always get funny faces in winter. Sometimes they smile, you can almost see the smile, it is very faint. Sometimes they look like they are winking. I really should do a post on them and show all the expressions. You did get that right.

      Plans are to shut down New York’s side of Niagara Falls within three years to allow for bridge repair. That means turning off the Falls on our side, possibly for the two years of construction. It would become dry to enable workers to repair pedestrian/vehicular bridges over 100 years old. When I drive there, I use those bridges, but I can walk so it would not affect me getting there. I did walk this week, but not always. The last the Falls was turned off was in 1969, before my time here. It was done by scientists to study the effects of erosion at the base of the Falls. The Falls actually moves a bit backwards each year due to erosion. The public hearing is on Wednesday at the Niagara Falls Conference Center. Channel 7 will likely be there with all the other news stations. I heard on the radio this morning that it will increase tourism because people will be very curious. At first, I am sure that will happen when it goes dry. Last time they found skeletons at the base of the Falls, and jumpers since then have not been found. Since the Canadian Falls will be running, people will flock to Canada. You can see all the Falls very well from Canada. There is an elevator I have taken to the base of the Falls that I have shown on GWGT, but I doubt they will let people walk around down at the base. It will be interesting. Also, my blog will explode in views because people will want to see this. I am not sure they will pay to see it through travel. Who knows, I hope I am wrong.

      • Thanks for telling me more about the situation at the Niagara Falls and the construction plans, Donna. Let’s see what finally will happen during that (long) time …

  5. Laurin Lindsey says:

    Wow, such stunning beauty. Your photographs are top notch. I feel cold just looking at them as I sit here with my doors open in Houston : )

    • It is funny, but I bet the ice is gone today, where it was there yesterday. The temperature is now 37°F and was 31°F yesterday. Tomorrow will be 43°F, but it will be snowing on Wednesday. One nice thing about where you live, you don’t have to invest in all that winter wear. I would be dressed in my cowboy boots and hat if I lived in Texas. I had horses all my life, and in PA I was in cowboy boots everyday. When I moved here, I wore my Fry boots for a short time. Did not want to look too different, so I fashionably blended in. In PA they dress up more. I miss that and love going home to PA. I have what I call my Pennsylvania clothes.

  6. swo8 says:

    Lovely photos, Donna. It is quite a sight to behold – one of the wonders of the world in the grips of winter.

  7. Stunning photos to cool me off. We are in the midst of a heatwave with temperatures around the 90’s over night. The storm has made big news here too.

    • You are in a bit of a heatwave. I am not surprised the storm made world news since it hit so many huge east coast cities. New York and Washington have so much going on there daily, so snow is more than an inconvenience like in other parts of the country.

  8. Gorgeous photos, I would like to see a broad U.S. program to revitalize our urban infrastructure, something that would help a lot of struggling cities.

    • This is a state parks project, not city infrastructure repair and maintenance. You are right, it would be nice for the city to be fixed. They have been fixing the park for years, replanting and creating new parking and circulation. The park really is a mess with all the construction and limitation on where people can visit.

  9. Beautiful photos, Jonas is now heading over hear but no snow 😦
    Keep warm & safe!

  10. David says:

    A wonderful set of photos. I like the faces on the binocular machines. As much as I would like to try my hand at some winter photos like these I would never be able get up the gumption to go out in the cold like that. Maybe If I had someone driving me around in a nice warm car and I occasionally rolled down the window to take a shot. 🙂

  11. aussiebirder says:

    Beautiful winter wonderland shots Donna, though I could not find the link to your TV appearance. Hope there is wisdom in how the government approach the falls bridge project, consider how the town economy will fare.

    • No link to the TV report because I declined both the documentary and the news report interviews for being videoed for TV. I am a bit too self-conscious of the camera on me when I am speaking. Had either of them photographed me without my knowledge, the interview would have been rather good.

  12. Brian Comeau says:

    No better time to get out and enjoy nature than winter. I heard it once said that there is no bad weather only bad clothing. It makes all the difference

  13. Andrea says:

    Hi Donna, i am glad you are very well traversing those cold again. I can’t imagine the difficulty of shooting in that cold, i haven’t experienced a cold camera, hahaha.

    I have seen a lot of Niagara area through the years of following your posts, and no matter how they are taken or seemingly the same “snow/ice” they always look beautiful, always awesome, splendid, magnificent. And i always have you in my mind whenever Niagara comes to mind. TV crews see your authority in the area as well.

    • There are a few camera trick for the cold weather, most deal with condensation. It is very true they look different because the park has been under construction for a few years. I did like it better before the redesign. They have limited where people may travel. The TV crews had slim pickings this year for people to interview. Traffic has been very low this year each time I have been there.

  14. Somehow, I feel very invigorated looking at all your stunning snow photos. I love the story of the boy feeding the birds. Sounds like it was a special experience for him. I am sure locals enjoy the quiet days when there aren’t tourists abound. I’ve visited the falls now on both sides; Canadian side 20 years after I first saw the U.S. side. I must say I was surprised how touristy it has become (or I just don’t recall it being such a tourist attraction back then). Do you find it challenging to photograph in such cold weather? I find it tricky to keep my hands warm enough (even with half gloves) to work the camera.

    • I never really see others from the area at the falls unless it is a birding group. Many city residents never go there. They went as kids and don’t go back. I like photographing in the cold weather much more than in the heat of summer. The birds are much less weary of people in winter than summer. No chicks to protect and food is at a shortage often. Big birds come back too soon and just hang out at the shore rather than being out of camera range. They also don’t fly away to say energy. I dress for the weather and most of my winter wear is lightweight for skiing. You have greater mobility with ski gloves and much warmth.

  15. Lovely images of winter.


  16. Lula says:

    Oh, how beautiful landscape!!! and here we are at almost 20ºC at the end of January!!!! This is completely crazy, almond trees and other bushes blooming, sun as if mid spring. I miss so much winter and its time for hibernation and preparation for other seasons. Enjoy the snow!!!

  17. Your photos of the winter landscape are breathtaking. The falls are just as beautiful in winter and I appreciate your venturing out so that we can see them virtually each year. Thanks for the wonderful tour!

    • You’re welcome, Lee. I like the Falls better in winter. Less tourists and the ice formations are always breathtaking. So much is under construction that many places I used to go are now off limits. This is the first I ever showed the walk on the way there. I may try the gorge trail if the rain lets up. Ice coming down the gorge walls is always pretty too.

  18. Maria F. says:

    Simply beautiful Donna!

  19. germac4 says:

    Your photos are absolutely wonderful…..I’m showing them to all my Australian friends…the snowy landscape is both beautiful and somewhat terrifying.

  20. This is very impressive to see these powerful falls almost frozen

  21. Just amazing photography. The falls have such excitement and drama. And so many of your photographs catch moments that tell a story with a single image. Nice that you were interviewed on television!

  22. Indie says:

    The trees are so beautiful with all the snow and ice on them! I had no idea they could shut part of the falls down – that’s a lot of water to move!

  23. Fabulous shots…we try and get out every day it is not below 20…with asthma I cannot breathe well once it gets too cold….

  24. A.M.B. says:

    I’m so glad we got snow this year (and more than just a trace amount)! We stayed inside as the Blizzard was happening because of the high winds–my area is heavily wooded and I worried about tree branches coming down–but we ventured out once the storm had passed. I try to spend at least thirty minutes outside every day in the winter. Today, we got a little more snow (about half an inch). It’s absolutely beautiful. That said, I’m ready for spring!

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