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Discover Ausable Chasm - The Grand Canyon Of The Adirondacks

This massive gorge is caused by the Ausable River cutting through the Adirondacks causing the rock formations of chasm that makes up this must-see tourist attraction in Upstate NY.


Ausable Chasm is known to be the second Grand Canyon in the United States, or the “Little Grand Canyon of the East” or “The Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks”. In fact, this is the oldest natural attraction in the United States, established in 1870.

This massive gorge is caused by the Ausable River cutting through the Adirondacks causing the rock formations of chasm that makes up this must-see tourist attraction in Upstate NY.

Where Is Ausable Chasm

Located in Keeseville, a hamlet in Clinton County, about 30 miles from Lake Placid in the Adirondacks. Conveniently, the town is called Au Sable. Being one of the most popular tourist attractions in New York State, Ausable Chasm NY has truly become an adventure destination in the state. 

The gorge is about two miles long, where the Ausable River flows through into Lake Champlain.

What Are The Rock Formations In Ausable Chasm NY

The Ausable Gorge is carved out of 500 million year old Potsdam sandstone. This sedimentary rock is from the Cambrian Period, the first geological period of the Paleozoic Era. For 10,000 years, the movement and melting of glaciers has created the caves, tunnels and rock formations. This erosion has also caused the Rainbow Falls, in its form and location, today. 

This continuous erosion has caused the exposure of a rare Cambrian jellyfish fossil. Many of the formations have names like Cathedral, Elephant’s Head, Table Rock, Sentry Box, Broken Needle Sentinel Rock, The Flume and The Devil’s Oven. 

Ausable Chasm

This sandstone is found only in Northern New York, Vermont, Quebec and Ontario.

The geological display of all the fossils and more information on the chasm and activities can be found at the Visitors Center — a recommended stop. This is also where the bathrooms are (keeping in mind that there are no bathrooms along the trail.)

What To Do In Ausable Chasm

Ausable Chasm is full of adventure and fun, in all seasons. Summer is when you can go tubing on the river. 

  1. Take the adventure trail at Ausable Chasm, packed with rope climbing. This is a perfect mix of hiking and rock climbing.

  2. Take the Lantern Tour post dusk. Climb 150 feet into the chasm and walk along the gushing river to witness the rocks in the light of a lantern. Campfire and marshmallow roast conclude the tour. 

  3. The 30 minute Riverwalk takes you along the river from where to see the Rainbow Falls and the guide will show you the many rock formations. 

  4. Rafting in The Flume, the narrowest part of the gorge, that causes rapids and you get to view the rock formations like Sentry Box and Broken Needle.

  5. Rappel down to hang 130 feet above the Ausable River where you cross the gorge. 

  6. Rock climbing is ostensibly the most adventure junkies will get out of a trip to Ausable Chasm

  7. Tubing down the river is fun and leisurely. Prepare to get wet.

  8. There are many hiking trails like the Rim Walk (2 miles), Dry Chasm Trail (1.5 miles), Inner Sanctum Trail (1 mile) and Rainbow Falls Elephant’s Head Vista (0.5 mile.)

  9. Visit the bridge at Ausable Chasm for views of the river and surrounding vista. 

  10. The visitors center is in itself an attraction at Ausable Chasm. It is also where you get tickets for all the adventure and activities. 

Ausable Chasm

Many have asked what there is for older folk to do near Ausable Chasm. The visitors center, the bridge and light hikes along the river of even the nearby Letchworth State Park are quite rewarding.

 

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In this article:   #Adirondacks | #Ausable Chasm | #Lake Champlain | #Grand Canyon of the East | #Rainbow Falls |
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