Whilst travelling to see some friends in Lake Placid we had some time to kill so we decided to visit Ausable Chasm – a natural wonder on the Ausable River which runs through the Adirondack mountains into Lake Champlain. Three or four miles short of the Lake Champlain the Ausable cuts through the red sandstone, creating a deep ravine. Ever since coming to the US I had wanted to visit this place. We took a walk along the rim trail that follows the river – it was a wonderful clear day and the sun glistened off the white, bubbling water running through the chasm. The chasm is about 30 feet wide for much of its length and climbs vertically 70 feet above the water. Apparently there have been times when the water levels have climbed to within 20 feet of the top of the chasm and taken away bridges and metal structures as if they were made of matchsticks (would have liked to have seen that). Anyway a mile down the rim trail there is the option to take the last mile in a raft down the river – of course we just had to do that. The river levels were low so it was not exactly white water rafting ( it can be class 3 rapids under the right conditions) but the guide who took us down gave us a lot of information about the geology and the fauna of the chasm.
There are several options for exploring the gorge including an adventure trail that explores some areas not accessible by the regular system. This involves crisscrossing the river on rope bridges – not recommended for those folks with a fear of heights.