What I did today on the Adirondack Coast…… Ausable Chasm Ice Tour!

In 1870 Ausable Chasm opened as a privately owned park along the Adirondack Coast bringing in visitors from around the globe to gaze at it’s magnificence. Photographers, Thrill seekers, Movie makers, and wealthy adventurers began reading of the chasms’ splendor in travel magazines and taking the long journey by horse-drawn carriages, train, and boat just to be a part of nature in it’s most beautiful form. Water has always attracted us to it’s great falls, rolling oceans, and placid lakes. Ausable Chasm is one of those places like no other. It holds within it’s boundaries views that many of us have only seen from magazines, postcards, and television. Right here in the Town of Chesterfield, only miles from the center of downtown Plattsburgh, sits Ausable Chasm “More to Explore”

“Ausable Chasm More to Explore”. A slogan I have seen on the Park entrance sign many times while passing by along route 9 proved itself true today while I ventured out on a two-hour guided tour through the magnificence of the Chasm in winter.

Mother Nature has been a bit off this year and failed to mention that she will not be bringing with her an average snowfall. What she did bring was warmer than expected temperatures mixed with huge temperature drops and very little snow cover.The freeze-thaw cycle has made for some beautiful and ever-changing ice formations inside the chasm walls.  Ausable Chasm has been offering winter activities and winter walk tours for three years. Don’t worry if you don’t have the equipment. You will be provided with Snowshoes or traction devices to slip over your boots for the tour.  If you do not have snowshoes or skis and prefer a self guided tour, they are available to rent at the Visitors Center. Rental prices are $5 for locals and $10 for visitors outside the area. $5 for locals? If you live here, you’ve been missing out on an opportunity!

Not all of us have the ability to snowshoe through the highest peaks of the Adirondacks or cross-country ski at some of the more challenging trails, but Ausable Chasm Rim Trail has been maintained for the masses. The trail along the rim will provide you with magnificent views without the strain it requires to visit the high peaks. The views you’ll encounter are nothing like you’ll see anywhere else. This truly is “More to Explore”.

“More to Explore” really does sum things up with a visit to Ausable Chasm. I have been many times in the past, but only on warm summer days. Today I got to witness first hand the beauty of Mother Nature. The ice formations cascading down the walls of this steep ravine will bring your mind to emotional bliss. Ice formations have always been a thing of beauty to me. Just driving to Ausable Chasm from the south along interstate 87 you’ll find ice formations worthy of a photo opportunity. In the Chasm, you’ll find yourself immersed inside of the ice formations in a way that you never thought you would.

If you choose to go on a one or two-hour tour through Ausable chasm, you will hear of the history of the Chasm and surrounding area, the geological events that formed the Chasm as it is today, and hear of the natural environment that surrounds the Chasm walls. Come see why the Chasm was forever changed in 1996. Come hear of life along the chasm falls in the 1800’s.

Every time I have a family member come to the area, I always think of Ausable Chasm, and Every time I take them, I am greeted with many thanks (and the occasional applause) for bringing them here. This was my first winter visit and certainly not my last. If you are from the area, or just visiting for a weekend, put Ausable Chasm on your list. You won’t be disappointed.

What to do before you arrive for a winter walk tour?

First , make a phone call. Ausable Chasm’s guided tours should be pre-scheduled. The one hour tours are daily at 10:30 and 12:30. The two-hour tours begin at 2:00. (518) 834-7454

Bring warm clothes. Ausable Chasm will provide snow shoes or slip on traction devices depending on the conditions. Consider the temperatures to be lower than you feel outside. It’s always easy to lose a layer after you have begun the tour than to realize you were not prepared to keep warm.

If anyone in your party has special needs please make the tour guide aware. The tour guide will cater your tour to the best of their ability based on the individual needs of your group.

The one hour tour is $20 per person.

The two-hour tour is $25 per person.

Winter hours for all Ausable Chasm activities are from 9:00 am- 3:00 pm. November-April,reservations are suggested.

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