5 Things to do at Ausable Chasm For Your First Visit

You’re reading this because you’ve likely heard about Ausable Chasm or have seen the beautiful pictures of it and now you want to visit it, but since it’s your first time, you may have questions:5 Things to do at Ausable Chasm For Your First Visit

  • What is Ausable Chasm?
  • Where is it?
  • What can you do at Ausable Chasm?

This is what I’ll be answering all in this article, all to help you plan a visit to Ausable Chasm that you’ll never forget, because after going there 3 times, I can tell you that this place is unlike any other, and totally worth visiting.

 

When I first saw pictures of this place, I couldn’t believe that it was actually in New York State.

And considering all the beautiful places I’ve visited here:

Ausable Chasm stands as the top 3 spots I’ve ever seen in the entire New York State and you’ll likely be blown away by this place when you visit it too.

The following adventures you can do there will definitely prove that.

Here are the 5 things you need to do when first visiting Ausable Chasm:

  • Hike the main Asuable Chasm trail to the rafts/tubing (find elephant rock!).
  • Take the tube/rafting adventure.
  • Hike the trail from the tube/rafting adventure back to the main area.
  • Experience the challenging, but very fun obstacle courses inside the chasm.
  • Kayak (for advanced people) in the Ausable river.

I’ll be detailing each option and attraction available at Ausable Chasm shortly.

What is the Ausable Chasm?

Ausable Chasm is a long and narrow gorge with amazing views located in the northern most part of New York State, about 30-40 minutes South of the Canadian border. Here is the official Ausable Chasm site if you wish to learn more.

Here is a map view of where you’ll find it:

Ausuable Chasm has beautiful gorges, hiking trails (beginner and moderate), waterfalls, and more available:

ausable chasm river waterfalls

Ausable Chasm is 1-2 miles long. The gorge itself is anywhere from 40-100 feet in certain places and the drop to the water can be anywhere from 50-200 feet high depending on where you’re standing above the gorge.

5 things you need to do at Ausable Chasm for your first visit:

You can actually do all 5 of these things in a single day!

1) Do the main (yellow) trail first.

The yellow trail (1-2 miles long) is the most popular option available at Ausable Chasm and it allows you to descend into the gorge, very close to the water, and take the raft ride when you finish the trail. It is a very scenic walk and the beauty in the gorge is unforgettable:

ausable chasm yellow trail hike

The way this trail is designed, is that as you travel deeper and deeper into the chasm, you eventually come across an area where hiking further is impossible, and that’s where you’re provided with access to a raft/tube to continue down the Ausable River. 

If you’re afraid of the water/river, you can just backtrack up the same trail instead.

2) Try the rafting experience at Ausable Chasm (It’s very fun).

If you Google any images of the Ausable Chasm, odds are you’ll see what I’m about to show you. You’re going to be taking a 15-20 minute raft ride that stretches for about 1/2 a mile. While it is short, it is going to take you straight through the chasm itself.

If you’ve never done rafting before, I wouldn’t worry. It’s not dangerous and when I did it, it was also my first time rafting.

The ride itself will be calm most of the time and there is a short area where you will go through a pretty bumpy river ride. I would not recommend you take any expensive equipment here unless you have gear to store it. The photos I took below were with a GoPro camera:

ausable chasm raft ride

I want to make a quick note about the picture with the bridge 100 feet high. We were told by our tour guide on the raft (you have to go with one if you’re going rafting) that when Hurricane Irene hit a few years ago (New Yorkers will remember), that the water and flooding was so catastrophic in this area that the level of the water was raised so high in this area that it was only 10 feet under the bridge!

That means the flood from the hurricane filled the canyon up 90 feet! 

3) Hike the orange trail back from the raft ride.

After you finish the raft ride, an orange trail is available to have you go back to the starting point of Ausable Chasm, but on the other side of it. Let me just say that the silence I heard when we got off the raft were truly something and I encourage you to stay at this spot for a little bit just to enjoy it.

You can also elect to take a tour bus back to the starting point if you don’t wish to hike back. Would I recommend you walk back instead of taking the bus? Depends if you’re tired or not. The views, while not as great as the path headed into the chasm are still worth checking out.

You can also cross the 100 foot high bridge that I was talking about and have a nice look at the river from above:

4) Do the obstacle course challenge in Ausable Chasm.

If you enjoy safe, but challenging climbs that feel like you’re in an Indiana Jones movie, then you’ll love doing the obstacle course in Ausable Chasm.

It is only done with tour guides, and under strict safety guidelines, and you have to plan it by appointment, but it’s very beautiful, scenic and you really will be doing challenging hikes inside the gorge, on it, and basically scaling the sides of the gorge on ladders like these:

ausable chasm obstacle course

5) Kayak the Ausable River! 

In order to do this, you’ll need special permission and your own kayak from my understanding. But this is an activity you can do in Ausable Chasm, where you’ll start from the main 3 waterfall area and work your ways down through the gorge, past the raft ride area, across the river and however far down after that as you like.

This is something I will try to do in the future because as much as I loved hiking and rafting through Ausable Chasm, kayaking there might be a whole new adventure that’s even more fun!

Other attractions to explore near Ausable Chasm:

  • If you enjoy scenic mountains and hikes, you’ll find Poke o Moonshine mountain about 20 minutes away from it.
  • You can also head east into Vermont via ferry to explore places like Sand Bar State Park.
  • If you’re in Vermont, another cool spot is Stowe Mountain which is about 40 minutes from Ausable Chasm.
  • If you’re headed south, you have all of the Adirondack Mountains to explore that are not far from Ausable Chasm.

When my buddy and I first drove through Ausable Chasm, once we finished exploring it, we then decided to improvise and turn the visit to Ausable Chasm into a fun 1,500 mile road trip idea, which took us through the above places, and had us go even further north east into places like the White Mountains, including Cannon Mountain, and another spot we thought looked like Ausable Chasm which is called Gulf Hagas, all the way in the state of Maine (Spoiler: Ausable Chasm is better)!

6 thoughts on “5 Things to do at Ausable Chasm For Your First Visit”

  1. I’ve been to the Grand Canyon and that was awesome. I want to go and experience this ausable chasm. This looks really cool. I love the outdoors and scenery. I have to go to NY since I live in Florida and when I plan my trip I would like to go there. I miss this because there’s nothing like it in Florida. What is the best time of year to go?

    Reply
    • I would say anytime it’s open Rob, but in my opinion, Spring and Summer would be the best times to see the complete mix of green nature and the beauty of this place mixed together.

      Reply
  2. How have I not heard of this place before? This was great timing as my wife and I just booked an airfare for a two week vacation in New England this fall. Since our itinerary isn’t set in stone yet, I just may try to squeeze this in. Thanks for the review and I look forward to ready my more of your posts.

    Reply
    • It would be a several hour drive, but you would be able to make the trip if you left early in the AM (probably 4 am) to be able to try it out and come back to New England Dustin. Have fun!

      Reply
  3. This place sounds amazing and I am always looking for a new adventure. I use to live in New York City but we never really left the city but it is nice to learn that there is much more to New York then just the five boroughs.

    I have always wanted to visit Niagara falls but in the 17 years that I lived there I never once got to…I can now add Ausable Chasm to my bucket list…The place looks beautiful and the rafting looks like something out of Tomb Raider!

    Great article, I probably would have never knew about this place if I didn’t come across your site… Out of all the adventure your experience at Ausable Chasm what is something that you consider a must do when visiting?

    Reply
    • Well the regular tour is something I recommend since it’ll have you cover most of the chasm. If you enjoy it and are in the area for more than a day, try some of their other trail options, which are more advanced.

      Reply

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