Weekend Hike: Goat Island

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Goat Island, named for the herd of goats once kept there, was incorporated into the Niagara reservation park system in 1885. It's located between the American and Horseshoe falls that make up the Niagara falls and is the major tourist attraction on the American side. Other attractions such as the cave of the winds tour can be found on the premises as well. However, it remains a state park with many walking trails to take advantage of.. Our path took us on the outer perimeter of the island.

Since the park does primarily cater to tourists, the majority of the paths are paved and lighted, which is a plus considering the park is open 24/7. The paths are nicely cut and mostly bordered by trees with benches staggered throughout. The park speed limit is low so the only sounds you hear are the rushing currents of the falls and any people you happen to be near.

There are some opportunities to get "off-road". Here and there we found well worn paths leading right to the waters edge to get a better view. In these wilder parts, the vegetation was quite lush and green. The water of course was off limits due to the currents and your probable death a few hundred feet downstream. The other other item of caution to note is that one needs to mind their footing when navigating rocks. The rocks found here have been polished by the river for thousands of years before us, and I found even dry rocks to be a bit slippery.

Overall, I found the hike to be good. The paths were nice and gently rolling with a few hills that got my heart pumping. The tourists greatly outnumbered those who where there strictly for recreation, but they weren't an annoyance at all. The one negative was having to pay for parking, but for a slightly longer walk, free street parking is available if you can find a spot. You can see more pictures from my hike here.