This region of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail is predominantly urban in character, encompassing the cities of Lackawanna, Buffalo, Tonawanda, and Niagara Falls. However, there are also outstanding natural resources associated with the lake, Falls, and Niagara River gorge.
Buffalo, New York’s second largest city, features an inviting park system designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and a revitalized harbor area. Don’t forget to take in the architectural treasures found here including several Frank Lloyd Wright masterpieces and many unique downtown buildings including City Hall, the Richardson Olmsted Complex, and the Guaranty Building.
As you travel north on the Great Lakes Seaway Trail, you’ll closely follow the shores of the Niagara River. As the river starts to become more turbulent, look ahead and you’ll soon start to see the mist rising up from Niagara Falls. You’ll want to stop at Niagara Falls State Park to view the Falls either from land or by boat. Allow plenty of time – the mighty Falls are awe-inspiring.
As you continue north, the Niagara River Gorge extends downstream from the Falls and includes the Niagara Whirlpool and another section of rapids. You’ll be amazed at how close Canada is on the other side of the river. It’s no wonder this was a popular crossing point for the Underground Railroad as escaping slaves slipped across the river to freedom. A monument in Lewiston pays tribute to those seeking a new life of freedom and the local volunteers who helped them on their journey to cross the Niagara River.
Head north to Youngstown and you’ll appreciate the strategic location of Old Fort Niagara, located at the mouth of the Niagara River and controlling access to the Great Lakes and the westward route to the heartland of the continent. Here you’ll not only see the oldest buildings in the Great Lakes region, but you’ll also learn about the events that shaped our nation.
As you now head east on the Great Lakes Seaway Trail, you’ll experience a predominantly rural landscape of meadow lands, active farms and orchards, forests, wetlands