This is a birders' paradise! And it's part of the NYS Birding Trail, which features prime birding locations around the state.
How to get there
Take Exit 35 of the Adirondack Northway (I-87). Turn east onto Bear Swamp Road (Route 442) - turn right if coming from the south or turn left if coming from the north. Take Bear Swamp Road approximately 3 miles to State Route 9. Ausable Marsh WMA can be accessed from several points along Route 9.
From Port Kent (State Route 9N from anywhere on the Adirondack Coast), take Giddings Road and Plains Road to U.S. 9 in AuSable for 2.8 miles. Turn right onto U.S. 9 N for 2.4 miles, then 0.6 miles down Au Sable Point Road.
In winter, Ausable Point Campground is closed to camping, but open to walking and birding. It can be a great place to find mixed flocks of wintering ducks. These include common species such as Greater and Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneye, and Common Merganser, but look for less common species mixed into the flocks.
Ausable Marsh has wildlife habitats ranging from marsh and sandy dunes to floodplain forest. Watch for bald eagles which are regularly found here.
When not frozen, the marsh itself (which borders the campground road) can also be good for migrating waterfowl, and keep an eye open for Rusty Blackbirds in migration with larger flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds. The marsh also provides breeding habitat for birds such as Wood Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Wilson’s Snipe, Virginia Rail, and American Bittern, among others.
Ausable Marsh Wildlife Management Area is part of the NYS Birding Trail. This trail is not a physical trail, but a "connection" between outstanding birding locations in regions across the state.
Nature and historic walks
Enjoy easy trails on this protected marsh and wetlands complex, with parking and boat launches in several places.
These habitats support many types of fish and wildlife. Streams, marsh, and the Ausable River are breeding grounds for several species of fish and frogs, which attract native mammals and birds. Look for the variety of turtles basking on logs when the sun is warm.
From Route 9, you may have to hike along the access road depending on the condition of the road, but generally it can be driven. From the parking lot, head through a gate and continue on the flat through the marsh, which is also a management area. A couple short side paths lead out to different locations. The old access road through the marsh continues on for some time; but often becomes swamped and flooded, especially in the spring of the year.
Use the Ausable Point Campground Road to reach a wheelchair-accessible wildlife viewing platform. It has its own parking area with one designated parking spot and two others.
A level boardwalk extends out into the marsh for a wide field of view.
Ski downhill from Route 9 along the access road. Cross under the railroad tracks to the trail register. Always sign in and out.
Then the trail goes through a gate through the marsh. Look for a couple of short side paths which lead out to different locations. The old access road through the marsh continues from one end of the wildlife preserve to the other. Best once the season gets going and when snow conditions are usually at their best. Depending on the trail used there can be some very good sections of downhill, others are quite flat. Dependent on loops chosen, anywhere from a 1-mile out and back to a several mile loop. This trail system has something for everyone, but not all the trails are for everyone. Some trails are very narrow and steep, choose the trail and loop that best fits your abilities.
This road down to the marsh is closed in the winter, you will have to safely park off Route 9 and ski the road back to the marsh as well, adding a bit of distance, but a nice downhill run.