Great Gorge Railway Trail

New York

Get a FREE guidebook when you join Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Take your pick of one of our 13 trail guides when you give $30 or more to build trails!

Great Gorge Railway Trail Facts

States: New York
Counties: Niagara
Length: 1.2 miles
Trail end points: Niagara Gorge Discovery Center and Whirlpool Rapids Bridge at Bridge Ave. and Whirlpool St.
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 8981868
Trail activities: Walking

With Unlimited:

  • Export to My Trail Guide
  • Create Guidebook
  • Download GPX
  • Download Offline Maps
  • Print Friendly Map
Upgrade Now

Great Gorge Railway Trail Description

The Great Gorge Railway Trail is truly a gem. Nestled between the Niagara River and the Niagara Scenic Parkway, this short but stunning rail-trail offers unparalleled access and views of one of North America’s greatest and most famous natural wonders. Located in a well-populated area and heavily frequented tourist destination, the trail offers a fun outing for families and vacationers hoping to find spectacular views while venturing away from the larger crowds buzzing around Niagara Falls.

The best starting point is located adjacent to the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center, on the northeast end of Niagara Falls State Park. A number of intersecting footpaths and park trails are in the vicinity, so be sure to stop by the Niagara Gorge Trailhead Center across from the Discovery Center and grab a map, which includes useful information about all the available trails surrounding the park and waterfalls. Hiking tours are offered through the Discovery Center mid-May–October.

Note that this will be an out-and-back experience of 1.2 miles each way. The crushed-stone trail begins by crossing under a footbridge that leads guests to the Aquarium of Niagara. Hikers are quickly removed from the hustle and bustle of the attractions nearby as they travel the smooth and easy-to-follow pathway that parallels the Niagara River and slopes gently down from the canyon edge to the riverbank.

Along the hike, trail users will find multiple lookout points that deliver stunning vistas of the river, the falls, and impressive bridges connecting the United States to Canada and the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario. Other highlights of the journey include remnants of the mills, factories, and infrastructure that relied on the power of the falls during the height of the Industrial Revolution in America.

As the trail continues down toward the river, a few spurs offer hikers a slightly more adventurous and challenging route to the river’s edge; to stay on the Great Gorge Railway Trail, follow signs with that name and marked #4. The trail hugs the cliff face for its duration.

The trail hits a dead end directly beneath the aptly named Whirlpool Rapids Bridge. Travelers will want to take a few moments to absorb the view of the immense rapids at this point in the river before returning to the trailhead.

Just before the end of the trail, a large staircase leads back up to the top of the cliff. If hikers want a slightly easier route back to the trail center, the Niagara Scenic Parkway Trail (marked as trail #1) and the Niagara Gorge Rim Trail (trail #2) provide a less strenuous alternative to the Great Gorge Railway Trail, which is uphill in its entirety for the return trip. A parking lot is also accessible at the top of this staircase.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the parking lot adjacent to the Niagara Gorge Trailhead Center from Buffalo, take I-190 N to Exit 21, and merge onto Niagara Scenic Pkwy. Go 3.2 miles. At the traffic circle, exit right onto John Daly Blvd. and continue 0.4 mile. Turn left onto Niagara St., and continue 0.5 mile. Turn right onto First St., which becomes Niagara Scenic Pkwy. The parking lot for the Niagara Gorge Trailhead Center will be on your left in 0.3 mile. From I-190 S, take Exit 22. Follow the service road 0.2 mile, and turn right onto US 62/Niagara Falls Blvd. Go 3.4 miles, and turn left onto NY 104/Main St. Go 0.2 mile, and turn right onto Niagara Scenic Pkwy. The Niagara Gorge Trailhead Center will be on your left in 0.2 mile.

To reach the parking lot near the north end of the trail from I-190, take Exit 24 for NY 31 W. Head west on NY 31, which becomes College Ave. after 1.2 miles. Follow College Ave. 1.0 mile. Take a left onto NY 104/Lewiston Road, and follow it 0.4 mile to a right turn onto Findlay Drive. Take your next left onto Whirlpool St., and continue 0.5 mile to the parking lot, which will be on your left.

Great Gorge Railway Trail Reviews

pleasant easy walk with slow gentle incline and descents

Trail Events

This trail does not have any events yet.
Be the first to add one!

Add an Event

Nearby Trails

Niagara Gorge Rim Trail

New York - 6.5 miles

True to its name, the Niagara Gorge Rim Trail traces the eastern edge of the Niagara Gorge, offering connections to three state parks and spectacular...

Niagara Scenic Parkway Trail

New York - 3.9 miles

The Niagara Scenic Parkway Trail, formerly known as the Robert Moses Recreational Trail, spans nearly 4 miles beginning at Main Street in Niagara...

Devil's Hole Trail

New York - 1.5 miles

The Devil's Hole Trail offers a moderately challenging hike within Devil's Hole State Park. The rail-trail follows the route of a former trolley line...

Accordion

Kiwanis Park Trail

New York - 8 miles

This trail starts in the Village of Lewiston off Mohawk Street just North of Center Street. Park at Kiwanis Park in the Village. Trail goes North and...

Erie Canalway Trail

New York - 291.9 miles

When complete, the Erie Canalway Trail will run for 360 miles in upstate New York—from Buffalo in the west to Albany in the east—linking many other...

Shoreline Trail

New York - 21.7 miles

The Shoreline Trail in Erie County, New York, is 21.7 miles of flat, easy pathway that runs adjacent to Lake Erie, one of the country’s Great Lakes,...

Two Mile Creek Greenway

New York - 1.3 miles

The Two Mile Creek Greenway runs from East Park Drive near I-290 to the Niagara River in the town of Tonawanda. The trail follows along Two Mile...

Tonawanda Rails to Trails

New York - 4.7 miles

Opened in 2016, Tonawanda Rails to Trails offers a paved linear route through the Tonawanda community north of Buffalo. The rail-trail was built atop...

Ellicott Creek Trailway

New York - 6.9 miles

Ellicott Creek Trailway is an asphalt path used for biking, walking, running, and rollerblading. This multiuse pathway travels along Ellicott Creek—a...

North Buffalo Rails to Trails

New York - 0.65 miles

North Buffalo Rails to Trails offers a tree-lined paved pathway through Minnesota Linear Park in the University Heights neighborhood. Although less...

Greenway Nature Trail

New York - 1.2 miles

Although only about a mile in length, Buffalo’s Greenway Nature Trail packs in the views. The paved pathway provides access to the city’s Outer Harbor...

Lehigh Memory Trail

New York - 0.71 miles

Just east of Buffalo, New York, lies the Lehigh Memory Trail in the Village of Williamsville. The pathway is a short paved trail that runs through the...

Download the TrailLink mobile app and take TrailLink with you!
Build trails nationwide + pick your FREE 2019 RTC member t-shirt!
Get a FREE guidebook when you join Rails-to-Trails Conservancy!

Explore by City

Explore by City

Explore by Activity

Explore by Activity

Log in to your account to:

  • View trail paths on the map
  • Save trails to your account
  • Add trails, edit descriptions
  • Share photos
  • Add reviews

Log in with Google

OR

Register for free!

Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 30,000 miles of trail maps and more!

Register with Google

OR