Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Guided tours
No
Backcountry camping
No
Lodging
No
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

When considering a trip to New York, remember to head upstate for beautiful views of the local scenery as well as the requisite tour of the "Big Apple." Depending on the amount of time you have, you can do it all.

Most people have heard of Lake Placid and think of ski resorts and former Olympic venues. In the shadow of those attractions lies the Ausable River, and High Falls Gorge Park. This is a 22-acre privately owned park that borders the river and offers views of stunning water falls cascading over the ancient granite cliffs. 

The river is nestled in a canyon that contains the same flora and fauna you would have seen hundreds of years ago. Considered a climax forest (a forest not disturbed by outside forces), it is a rare gem to spend time in as you stroll the paths and soak up the natural surroundings.

From the visitor center, start on the paved trail that leads to the canyon along the river's edge. Take a moment to read up on the area's mining history, and if you have children, they can mine for a gem stone of their own at the mining camp.

The first fall you reach is Main Falls, and they are spectacular. A chute fall, the water cascades over blue grey anorthosite, pink granite, and grey basalt. Continuing on, be on the lookout for the porridge potholes before you reach the Mini Falls and the center of the gorge, where both sets of waterfalls can be seen. 

Back on the trail, which is really a metal grate hanging onto the side of the canyon, you will come to the first glass viewing platform. Be ready to get wet, as the spray from the falls is voluminous, but the view is worth the shower. Keeping camera equipment dry here can be challenging, but it is definitely doable. 

Finishing off the half-mile waterfall hike, be on the lookout for Indian Head rock on the opposite side of the canyon. The rock's visage is quite visible in person, but it is very hard to capture in a photo as it hangs back in between some rock walls. The last two waterfalls you will see are Rainbow Falls and Climax Falls.​ 

Circle back to the main lodge for lunch and then make the quick trip to the main entrance at Lake Placid. Here you will see the flags of all the nations who competed at the 1980 Olympic games, a beautiful site.

One last note, if you do travel here in the winter, the canyon is open and you can snowshoe the area, making this truly a year-round destination.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Beautiful fall color. Short hike with lots of views.

Cons

Short hike.

Features

ADA accessible
Geologically significant
Flushing toilets
Picnic tables
Waterfalls

Location

Field Guide

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