Ausable Chasm

Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T!

Journey through the Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks»

Ausable Chasm is privately owned land within the boundaries of Adirondack State Park. The gorge cut through the rock by the Ausable River is known as the Grand Canyon as the Adirondacks. We traveled to the area for a day trip while staying in Lake Placid.


Matthew Adgate was granted this land around the Ausable River in 1792 as compensation for his service in the Revoutionary War. He harnessed the power of the rushing water to build an industrial town and ironworks. This settlement was renamed Birmingham Falls in the 1800s during the Industrial Revolution.


After the Civil War, the chasm began attracting tourists and the iron industry gave way to the tourism industry. Established in 1870, Ausable Chasm Park was one of the country’s first natural attractions, predating the nation’s oldest state park, Niagara Falls. People flocked to the area and grand hotels were built to accommodate them.


When the Northway (Interstate 87) was built, bypassing Route 9, the Chasm lost a lot of visitors. Still, the attraction continues to operate, adding more experiences like rappelling and rock climbing to attract more paying clientele.


We took the Classic Tour, which was a mile hike along the upper chasm and its roiling waters to a landing at a gentler part of the river. There, we boarded a raft and took a narrated float down the lower chasm. At the lower dock, we continued our hike up the Rim Trail and through some dry side canyons.


Lake Placid Posts:


Location: 2144 U.S. 9, Ausable Chasm, NY 12911

Designation: Privately owned land within State Park

Date of my visit: 7/29/2011