The Niagara Falls is a collection of three waterfalls that is located at the southern end of the Niagara Gorge. The waterfalls span the border between the province of Ontario in Canada and the state of New York in the United States. The three largest waterfalls on the American side of the border are Horseshoe Falls, also known as Canadian Falls, which straddles the border between the US and Canada. The United States has three distinct waterfalls: the Upper Falls, the Lower Falls, and the American Falls. The smaller of the two cascades is Bridal Veil Falls, located on the New York-Maine border and separated from Horseshoe Falls by Goat Island, while the larger waterfall is American Falls, located on the New York-Vermont border and separated from Luna Island by Luna Island.
A joint waterfall is located on the Niagara River, which discharges Lake Erie into Lake Ontario. The combined falls have the highest flow rate of any waterfall in North America that has a vertical drop of more than 50 m. (160 ft). Between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., more than 168,000 cubic meters (6 million cubic feet) of water flows over the crest of the falls every minute. Horseshoe Falls, a North American waterfall, holds the title of the most powerful waterfall in North America. Niagara Falls is famous for its beauty and also generates significant amounts of hydroelectric power. To balance the competing interests of recreational, commercial, and industrial interests has been difficult for the caretakers of the falls for the last century.
The Niagara Falls is located about 27 km (17 mi with direct measure) north of Buffalo, New York, and about 121 km (75 mi) south of Toronto, situated between the twin cities of Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Niagara Falls, New York. Ice dams that were produced when glaciers receded at the end of the Wisconsin Ice Age (the last ice age) formed the great waterfall that we know as Niagara Falls. It also carved a path for the water that formed the Great Lakes to flow through the Niagara Escarpment and then on to the Atlantic Ocean.