About the Escarpment

The Niagara Escarpment stretches more than 725 km from the Niagara River to Georgian Bay and rises up in places more than half a kilometre above sea level. The entire Escarpment extends 1,100 kilometres from western New York to Niagara Falls, across southern Ontario to the Bruce Peninsula, under the waters of Georgian Bay to Manitoulin Island, and down the western shore of Lake Michigan. The most spectacular sections – those recognized by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve – are found in Ontario.

The Niagara Escarpment we know today is the result of a geological process that began more than 400 million years ago when the limestones, dolostones, and sandstones of the Escarpment’s bedrock were formed. In geological terms, a cuesta or escarpment is a ridge composed of gently tipped rock strata with a long, gradual slope on one side and a relatively steep scarp or cliff on the other. The present appearance of the Niagara Escarpment is the result of erosion that’s occurred over the past 250 million years. With incredible rock cliffs, breathtaking waterfalls, underwater caves, and 1,000-year-old cedar trees, the Escarpment tells a fascinating story of the natural history of Ontario – a story that needs to be told for generations to come.

Protecting the magnificent Niagara Escarpment means protecting its unique and fascinating characteristics, including that it:

  • Is the longest continuous natural corridor in densely populated south-central Ontario.
  • Boasts spectacular scenery – Niagara Falls and 60 other remarkable waterfalls, sheer cliffs, and fabulous vistas.
  • Offers unparalleled hiking experiences along the 762 kilometre Bruce Trail.
  • Comprises vineyards, orchards, and some of Ontario’s best farmland.
  • Is home to 1,000 year-old cedars, the oldest trees in eastern North America.
  • Houses the headwaters of five major river systems.
  • Tells that amazing story of more than 10,000 years of human history.