Maid of the Mist boat tours at Niagara Falls are some of the most famous boat rides in the world. Maid of the Mist boats have made the journey to the base of the Horseshoe falls and back for 129 years.
Now there are two separate operators of the Maid of the Mist boats, the Glynn family in the U.S and the Hornblower Niagara Cruises on the Canadian side of the Niagara Gorge. Regardless of what side your journey originates from each boat takes you to the base of the Horseshoe Falls less than 100 yards from the powerful cascade of water,
Each passenger is fitted with a plastic poncho to protect them from the heavy mist and blowing winds at the base of the Horseshoe Falls. The trip takes about 20 minutes as the captain takes each crew of passengers first past the American Falls then to the center of the gorge approaching the base of the Horseshoe Falls.
The captain takes the Maid of the Mist boats as close as possible to the base of the Horseshoe Falls and the boat appears to be standing still as it battles the mighty current of the cascading torrent of water. Finally, the captain turns the boat and allows it to go down river back to the dock were the journey began.
The Maid of the Mist boat tour was first launched in 1846 as a ferry service between the Canadian and American sides, pre-dating by two years the construction of the first Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge at the site. The ferry service lost business when the bridge opened, and by 1854 it had become a tourist attraction instead, served by a new and more luxurious boat.