Eternal Flame Falls, Orchard Park

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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111 reviews
  • Park at the hill on Rte 240 (Chestnut Ridge Road) just past Chestnut Ridge Park on the right. Trailhead on the left side of the parking lot. Please stay on the trails. There have been many accidents h...  more »
  • Pretty cool. Great walk down some well used trails. Great hike. The gorge is really cool. Great family thing to do. Consider this hike not for the faint of heart.  more »
  • We decided on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in November to go check out the Eternal Flame, there is a path to get down to the flame which is probably close to 1/2 mile trek. It's a lot of steep hills...  more »
  • Hands down, Chestnut Ridge is my favorite local park, and this trail is a staple. I used to go to the flame back when there was no official trail and you just had to know where to park and go- but now this makes the Eternal Flame incredibly accessible to everyone on a much shorter, easier to follow trail. I take EVERY visitor here for a quick hike and to see an incredibly rare natural wonder, and they are always impressed. This park is a gem, and if you have not been you are missing out! I can't count how many times I have done this trail- but each time I do, I take a small plastic garbage bag with me, and pick up any trash I see. I suggest you do the same, so it stays clean and beautiful for generations.
  • Prepared to get wet or dirty. The hike to the falls is downhill and very easy to get to. The hike back to the parking lot is a strenuous hike back uphill. Bring a hiking stick possibly. The flame, although small, was very cool to see and a great reward to come across. Various small waterfalls throughout and good skipping rocks to come across. I definitely will go back to visit.
  • The half mile numbered hike from the closest parking lot is not bad if you have good knees. The hike to the flame is mainly downhill. The return one may find some of the uphill segments to be a little stressful. It can be a little tricky as there were moist leaves on the ground (this was in mid-October). Bring water and a hiking stick could not hurt. There are some minor obstacles at the bottom leading to the flame, do not rush yourself down here and you may get your feet wet. In the end it is all worth it. Get your photos and admire the view from the bottom.
  • There was a lot of parking with a sign so you knew it was for The Eternal Flame Fall. There were maps provided and also signs numbered from 1 to 20 with a little flame next to it so you knew what path to follow to get to the falls. After sign number 20 you walked probably 2 to 3 more minutes and you reached the very end which is where the falls were at. It was definitely something magical. Definitely kid friendly as I brought my 3 year old son and my 5 year old nephew. However it is not stroller friendly in my opinion. 5/5 would recommend.
  • Nice small hike down to the actual falls. The falls itself was a sight to see. Very cool! Ill be going again

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