Eternal Flame Falls, Orchard Park

4.7
The Eternal Flame Falls is a small waterfall located in the Shale Creek Preserve, a section of Chestnut Ridge Park in Western New York. A small grotto at the waterfall's base emits natural gas, which can be lit to produce a small flame. This flame is visible nearly year round, although it can be extinguished and must occasionally be re-lit.The Eternal Flame Falls were featured in the book Secret Places by Bruce Kershner.Recent developmentsOnce considered an "obscure" attraction in the region, recent media attention and improvements to the access trail have led to an increased number of visitors in recent years. The increased popularity of the falls has led to some negative impacts, such as an increase in litter, vandalism, pollution, and impacts on the surrounding terrain by tourists, but also fueled a successful public protest against a plan to clear a nearby forested area to install a disc golf course in 2012.In 2014, it was announced that the Eternal Flame Falls were filmed to be featured in an as-yet unnamed Travel Channel series hosted by Tory Belleci.Composition and source of gasGeologists from Indiana University Bloomington and Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology studied Eternal Flame Falls in 2013 in an effort to better understand how natural gas emitted from naturally occurring hydrocarbon seeps contribute to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. They found that the 'macro seep' at Eternal Flame Falls had higher concentrations of ethane and propane (about 35%) than other known natural gas seeps, which typically contain a greater proportion of methane. They estimated that the seep at the falls emits approximately 1kg of methane per day.
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Eternal Flame Falls Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
108 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • Beautiful day and walk. I've been wanting to get here for some time and we decided last minute to take a day trip for our anniversary. Well worth the hike.  more »
  • We visited the eternal flame at a dry time trail in September. Finding the trail is not easy, because the signage is very modest. We close a gravel parking lot with several vehicles found on the chestnut Ridge Rd. Only from the driveway out, we could find a confirmatory sign. The way takes about 20 minutes at a moderate pace and goes first through a forest and then along a small stream of (dried). It's about many roots, stones, and whole tree trunks. We were on the road with two pensioners, where one had to give up. The trail is so not to be recommended for older people with knee problems. For children, the small climbing but could mean lots of fun. At the end, you reach a dead end, where a small waterfall down splashes. Between the stones, you can see a small flame, which is obtained from natural gas to life. Unfortunately, we saw only a single flame, and due to the dry weather, also the waterfall was actually only a small outflow of water. Nevertheless, it is a unique experience. If it is in the area and like something moves or climbs, it should come definitely. From Niagara Falls, we needed just 40 minutes including the border crossing by car.
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  • Absolutely breath taking view. A bit of hike through the woods. Wear hiking shoes or sneakers. Can be slippery in the rain. You will get back to nature on this hike. A natural gas flame that is lit al...  more »
Google
  • Moderate to difficult trail depending on your hiking experience. Wear good waterproof hiking boots or prepare to have wet feet. Little kids can make the trip. I took my daughter and she is seven and had little difficulty, my fourteen year old son loved it and kept going ahead on the trail. This is something I recommend to anyone that has not been to try.
  • Great family walk. Easy for most. I had a 3,5 and 7 year old with me and it was manageable. Bring a lighter with you just in case the flame is out.
  • A local landmark. Slightly more than one mile round trip hike over varied terrain, mostly wooded, moderate difficulty for most people. The falls presents a great photo op.
  • It's amazing! A flame under the Falls. It was a challenging hike if you were trying to stay dry in early April. If you hike in the summer or spring and don't mind walking in the water it would be less physical. There is no clear path the whole way. It is super muddy after a rain.
  • Amazing fall with eternal flame inside. Seems like someone has placed a lighten candle inside. The hike is challenging, you will get wet. But it is totally worth it.

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