Christopher M. Smith established this route, which runs the length of the Niagara River between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, with some "rules":
This course, with its essential elements, has been selected to: maximize the use of trails, follow close to the river’s edge, view Niagara Falls, and interact with features of the river landscape, hence the bridge crossings and descents into the gorge.
START: In Buffalo, NY, at the corner of Porter Ave. and Amvets Dr. touching railing overlooking Lake Erie
Follow Niagara River Greenway Trail/Busti Ave./Niagara St./Robert Rich Way to Broderick Park on Unity Island
Follow Niagara River Greenway Trail on Unity Island to train bridge (See essential element #1)
Follow pedestrian trail over bridge to Niagara St., follow Niagara St. to Hamilton St., go under highway and resume on the Niagara River Greenway Trail to South Grand Island Bridge, cross bridge (See essential element #2)
Follow East River Rd. past Baseline Rd., take trail in Buckhorn Island State Park to North GI Bridge, cross bridge on sidewalk
Follow Buffalo Ave. to LaSalle Waterfront Park, then follow bike trail along river to 1st St. in Niagara Falls
Cross 1st St. Bridge to Goat Island and circle island clockwise on outer trails past Three Sisters Islands to Terrapin Point (enjoy view), then around Tesla Monument and back to Goat Island Road Bridge (See essential element #3)
Cross Goat Island Road Bridge and follow Niagara Gorge Rim Trail along river to American Falls (enjoy view)
Continue under bridge to observation structure, under Rainbow Bridge, to Niagara Gorge Discovery Center
Follow Great Gorge Railway Trail into gorge, follow river, climb staircase before Whirlpool Bridges (See essential element #4)
Follow Whirlpool St. to Bellevue Ave, turn left onto Robert Moses Recreational Trail, then halfway on ramp turn left onto Niagara Gorge Rim Trail and follow to Whirlpool State Park, past whirlpool, to Whirlpool Rapids Trail Staircase
Descend on staircase, follow Devil’s Hole Trail along river to Devil’s Hole State Park, ascend staircase (See essential element #5)
Follow Niagara Gorge Rim Trail past power vista and power plant
Immediately after power plant, on left, take Artpark Gorge Trail under international bridge, then take River’s Edge Trail down into gorge (See essential element #6)
Follow River’s Edge Trail to end, cross parking lot, cross grass, then follow red brick road onto S. 4th St.
Follow S. 4th St./Tuscarora St./1st St./Oneida St. to N. 2nd St./18F/Lower River Rd.
Sidewalk on right becomes trail. Follow trail to Main St. in Youngstown and follow Scott Ave. into Fort Niagara State Park to Visitor Center Parking Lot
END: At far end of Visitor Center Parking Lot touching gate blocking access to grounds of Fort Niagara. This is as far as you can go without paying admission or being in the Coast Guard.
1. Take paths on Unity Island between Robert Rich Way and train bridge
2. Cross Grand Island bridges and take E. River Road along river while on Grand Island
3. Follow outer trail clockwise around south, west, and north portions of Goat Island, from 1st Street Bridge to Goat Island Road Bridge.
4. Descend to gorge on Great Gorge Railway Trail and climb up on staircase
5. Descend to gorge and take Devil’s Hole Trail between Whirlpool and Devil’s Hole parks
6. Descend to gorge on River’s Edge Trail from Artpark Gorge Trail
Upon finishing, you will have:
• Run the entire length of a large river, from one of the Great Lakes to another
• Run past the Eighth Wonder of the World, Niagara Falls
• Run through five beautiful state parks and several local parks
• Crossed two towering bridges (man-made features of the river landscape)
• Descended into the river gorge three times (natural features of the river landscape)
Total Distance: About 40 miles
Total Elevation: +1,600 ft, -1900 ft.