Niagara Falls Cave Closed After Rock Falls and Heavy Rains (Photo)

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(Photo: Reuters/file)Tourists in rain coats walk near the base of the Bridal Veil Falls at Niagara Falls, New York on July 28, 2007. Bridal Veil Falls is the smallest in width of the three waterfalls at Niagara Falls.

The Niagara Falls cave has been closed early this year due to a rockslide, according to officials.

New York State Parks officials have confirmed that they closed off the "Cave of the Winds" early this year on Oct. 20 after a number of large rocks fell onto the path overnight.

The rock fall damaged gates and railings leading up to the cave, forcing its closure.

The visitor season for the cave was almost over, and the closure was due to take place on Wednesday anyway. Oct. 24 would have seen the closure of the "Cave of the Winds" as well as the "Maid of the Mist."

The rock fall has been blamed on bad weather, and it is believed that heavy rains were directly responsible for the rock slide.

Tom Watt, the general manager of the Falls park, told the Niagra Gazette that four to six large rocks estimating to be about 18 inches in diameter and weighing around 200 pounds fell overnight.

"It's definitely out of the ordinary," Watt told the publication.
A scaling crew is scheduled to be sent out to check for loose rocks along the gorge on Monday.

The Cave of the Winds takes visitors on a journey that begins with an elevator ride 175 feet down into the Niagara Gorge.

Guests are given souvenir rain ponchos and specially designed sandals and walked up the wooden walkways along Niagara River to the Hurricane Deck, which is just a few feet from Niagara Falls.

The Bridal Veil Falls creates tropical storm-like conditions at that location, and brings visitors as close to the Falls as possible.

The Cave of the Winds tours are open to visitors every spring but the walkways and decks are removed before being reassembled each year to protect them from the weather conditions in the Niagara Gorge.