Goat Island is located between the American Falls and the Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls USA. Goat Island is also where tourists can take the Cave of the Winds tour and get right up to the brink of the American Falls and Bridal Falls at Luna Island which is located between the American and smaller Bridal Falls. Goat Island also includes Terrapin Point which is at the brink of the small sliver of the Horseshoe Falls which is located in Niagara Falls USA.
Goat island is also the focal point of Niagara Falls State Park and one of the highlights on any trip to Niagara Falls. The Niagara Falls State Park is also the oldest State Park in the United States and was created in great part because of the special nature of Goat Island and it’s connection to Niagara Falls
Goat Island received the name after an early settler John Stedman kept a herd of goats on the island and lost all but one during the winter of 1780. Goat Island has been preserved due to efforts of Augustus Porter, who in the middle 19th century recognized the long-term value of the falls as a tourist attraction.
In 1885 Goat Island was included in the Niagara Reservation State Park, the oldest state park in the United States.
Goat Island was designed as a park by famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who wrote in 1879 that he had traveled four thousand miles throughout the continent “without finding elsewhere the same quality of forest beauty which was once abundant about the falls, and which is still to be observed in those parts of Goat Island where the original growth of trees and shrubs had not been disturbed.”
Olmsted felt that the almost constant spray from the great waterfalls created a natural nursery for indigenous plant life. However, much has changed regarding the natural landscape of Goat Island since Olmstead first laid eyes on it. The millions of tourists who have walked Goat Island since Olmstead’s days and New York State’s redesign of the Park over the years has significantly altered the natural scenery over the years.
Goat Island is also the location of “The Three Sisters Islands”. These small islands are located on the southern shore of Goat Island and offer an up close and personal view of the rapids to the Horseshoe Falls.
The “Three Sisters Islands” underwent renovations in 2013 that include improved stone walking paths and viewing areas as well as landscaping. This is all part of a $25 million dollar effort by New York State to continue to improve the Niagara Falls experience.