Going over Niagara Falls with or without a barrel is a bad idea and you shouldn’t do it. It’s safer, easier and a lot more fun to cross over the bridge between Niagara Falls, New York and Niagara Falls, Ontario – or, if you’re a daredevil, to cross the falls themselves on a tightrope, as Nik Wallenda did in 2012. Plus: the story of the time 50 years ago that Niagara Falls stopped falling.

Man who went over Niagara Falls may have been saved by high water levels (Buffalo News)

Daredevil completes walk across Niagara Falls (CNN)

The Year The Army Stopped Niagara Falls (Gizmodo)

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There was a story last week that a Canadian man who went over Niagara Falls last week survived the fall, possibly because the water levels are so high.

There are hundreds of stories of people who went over the falls, sometimes on their own, sometimes in contraptions that inventors claim will keep them safe as they plummet.

Rarely have these falls ended well. Long story short, going over Niagara Falls is dangerous, and illegal, so don’t do it.

It’s safer, easier and a lot more fun to cross over the bridge between Niagara Falls, New York and Niagara Falls, Ontario. Or, if you’re a daredevil, to cross the falls themselves on a tightrope.

That’s what Nik Wallenda did in 2012. Wallenda (and yes, he’s from the famous high-wire Flying Wallenda family) walked an 1,800 foot tightrope from the US side over to Canada.

Authorities made him wear a harness, because, as you might guess, crossing the falls is dangerous. It’s hard to see because of the mist, it’s hard to hear because of the roar of the water, and there’s a lot of wind, which could knock even the most well-balanced crossers from a two inch wide tightrope.

Wallenda overcame all of those challenges, plus one that was waiting for him on the other side. Crossing Niagara Falls means crossing an international border. To comply with Canadian law, he put his US passport in his pocket, and to keep it dry, he put it in a plastic bag.

Every minute millions of gallons of water go over Niagara Falls, something like 70 Olympic sized swimming pools worth.

But that hasn’t always been the case. Fifty years ago the US Army Corps of Engineers wanted to see if that massive water flow was eroding the rock underneath. So they essentially diverted all the water away from the American side of the falls, and it stayed dry for months!

Did that stop the giant crowds of tourists? Of course not. 100,000 people showed up the first weekend to see Niagara Falls without its falls.