top of page

First Death-Defying Daredevil Tightrope Walk at Niagara Falls Between U.S. and Canada

For hundreds of years, Niagara Falls has been home to daredevils and death-defying stunts. Countless people have attempted to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel, on a jet-ski, a kayak, and even without the aid of any flotation device at all. Others have even tried to cross above Niagara Falls in the air (click here for a full list of attempts).

First death-defying daredevil tightrope walk at Niagara Falls Between U.S. and Canada
Charles Blondin crosses above the Niagara River on a tightrope that spanned between the U.S. and Canada.

The first person to attempt tightroping across Niagara Falls was Jean Francois Gravelet, known professionally as Charles Blondin, in 1859. Blondin was a French tightrope walker and acrobat who rose to fame after his tightrope walk across the Niagara Gorge on June 30th, 1959. The location of his walk is currently where the Rainbow Bridge is, which is a few thousand feet away from the brink of Niagara Falls. In total, Blondin walked 1,100 feet.

Blondin did not only walk this once, but several times afterward - and each time with a daring twist. Blindfolded, pushing a wheelbarrow, walking on stilts, in a sack, carrying a man on his back, sitting down halfway while he cooked and ate an omelette, and standing on a chair with only one of its legs balanced on the rope. It may be completely crazy to imagine, but it's true!

Blondin will always be the first daredevil to complete a tightrope walk at Niagara Falls.

Blondin carrying his manager Harry Colcord on his back across Niagara Falls
Blondin carrying his manager Harry Colcord on his back across the Niagara Gorge.

bottom of page