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Eternal Flame Falls, Orchard Park

(4.4/5 based on 85+ reviews on the web)
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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • The first part of the hike is uneven and very rooty and if you visit when it's cold, the rocks are very slick by the river. You will have to cross the river a few times and there are fallen trees and ...  more »
  • Went for a hike with my two kids ages 10 and 12. Was an easy hike for us all. It hadn't rained in quite some time, the creek was dry. May be a bit more challenging after some rain. There were many fam...  more »
  • Eternal flames is a natural light due to fire appearing in a rock cavity at the end of trail in eternal flame falls. . you see exactly what is given in the picture. fire inside and water falls falling...  more »