Niagara is known for the Falls and award-winning wines. But as Ontario’s fertile area — a patchwork of rolling hills, farms, lakes, rivers, canals, and charming towns lined with handsome brick Victorians — it's also ideal for outdoor adventures of all kinds.
You want to see the fabled Falls, of course, but maybe in a more exciting way? Try the Mistrider Zipline to the Falls with Wildplay Niagara Zipline. This is what you might call "adrenaline sightseeing." You can rip 670 metres across the Niagara Falls river gorge at 70 kph with views overlooking both the American and Canadian Horseshoe Falls. There are four parallel lines, too, so you can take the plunge with your buddies.
Canoer or kayaker? It’s hard to beat Ontario, home to 500,000 lakes and thousands of kilometres of rivers. Hire a guide to take you out or bring your own boat, then choose your level: Easygoing touring or backcountry adventure? Day trip or wilderness adventure? Exciting whitewater or calm wildlife photography? Top paddling destinations in the Niagara Region are the 780-kilometre Waterfront Trail near Niagara-on-the-Lake, Chippawa Creek Conservation Area near Wellandport, and Long Beach Conservation Area on Lake Eerie.
You can walk, backpack, and trek all over the Niagara Region. Explore on foot at one of the many parks, like the Niagara Glen, Short Hills Provincial Park, or the Woodend Conservation Area. The Riverwalk — part of The Great Trail — is a scenic path over the Peace Bridge continuing along the water, and it includes green spaces, riverfront patios, pretty beaches, and festive community events in the summertime. Then there's the famed Bruce Trail — one of Canada’s oldest and longest. The Bruce skirts the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, for over 890 kilometres from the Niagara River to Tobermory, revealing varied terrain. Expect to see ancient conifers, thick forest, rushing waterfalls, badlands, and the signature limestone cliffs and clear cerulean waters of Bruce Peninsula National Park.
Angle for steelhead, bass, and trout in Niagara’s lakes and rivers. Hire a pro, such as Cast Adventures, to show you around. Or if you’re the competitive type, go for the big cash prize at June’s 444 International Walleye Tournament on Lake Eerie, with categories for pros and amateurs. The calm water wetlands, fields, and woods of Mud Lake Conservation Area make for fantastic angling — plus hiking, boating, and bird watching for some 250 species of songbirds, waterfowl, and raptors, including migratory flocks. Look for groups of 100 turtles sunning themselves under the many bridges.
If you like touring on two wheels, pedal the lovely, varied Niagara River Recreational Trail. Ride the 56-kilometre stretch south to north, cycling along the water from Fort Eerie to Fort George in historic Niagara-on-the-Lake. There are plenty of stops, services, views, and attractions. Pause for lunch, wine tasting, to tour a landmark site and learn about history, and shop. There are lots of biking options to consider.