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Hiking the Via Ferrata in Ausable Chasm, New York

A ropes course and cliff walk allow hikers to scale the cliffs around Ausable Chasm, revealing beautiful views inaccessible to regular day-hikers. This fantastic adventure is not for those with a strong fear of heights, but is one of the best activities in the area for thrill seekers!

Via Ferrata are hiking routes known as the "iron way," allowing people to climb mountains and scale rocks without climbing experience. The harnesses and cables keep the climber attached to safety cables at all points on the hike, preventing injury from occurring.

Requirements to Participate in the Adventure Trail Experience

Minimum Age: 8 years

Minimum Reach: 63" in height (160 cm)

Weight: 50-250 pounds

Maximum Waist Circumference: 54" (137 cm)

Must not be pregnant or have any physical or medical contraindications (including heart conditions).

What Does the Adventure Trail Cost?

The adventure trail costs $35 per person in addition to basic admission ($17.95 adult/$9.95 children 12 and under). A package is available that includes admission, a river float trip, and the Adventure Trail experience for $54.95 (adults) or $44.95 (children 12 and under). We recommend getting the package, as the float trip is fun and is almost free when combined in the package deal. These prices are current for 2021.

The Via Ferrata Course

The route starts with a very high cargo net (pictured above), which is a good test to weed out anyone with a fear of heights. About halfway through the route, climbers meeting a minimum height requirement cross the river and participate in a cliff walk. Our son Matthew was tall enough to do this part of the hike, but Nolan was not. My husband accompanied Matt on the cliff walk, while Nolan and I scaled the cliffs on the other side of the river.

The cliff walk was extremely fun. While Nolan was disappointed to miss this part of the trail, he does not have the 63" (160 cm) reach required for this section. When coming off the cliff walk, climbers must be able to reach this distance to get onto the exit ladder.

Since Nolan was too small to do the cliff walk portion, we climbed down the cliff face and hiked along the river to meet the cliff-walkers at their exit point.

Even though Nolan couldn't participate in the cliff section, he had enough thrills of his own and our family was able to hike together for the remainder of the via feratta. This included crossing the river on a tight rope, which was thrilling and a great challenge for everyone.

The course proceeds by crossing the river in several places on bridges with widely spaced slats, ending at a hiking trail for climbers to return to the Rainbow Falls area or to simply continue hiking for the day. The harnesses and helmets are collected at the end of the hike.

Those with teenagers can also sign up for rock climbing adventures and rappelling. The minimum age for true rock climbing/rappelling is 13 years, and anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult guardian.

This is an experience that should not be missed by those visiting the Adirondack region of New York!

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