Eternal Flame Falls, Orchard Park

4.6
#60 of 290 in Nature in New York State
Waterfall · Nature / Park
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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. Make Eternal Flame Falls part of your personalized Orchard Park itinerary using our Orchard Park day trip planner.
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Eternal Flame Falls reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
175 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • This was on my bucket list and it was so worth it! After you see the sign for Chestnut Ridge Park, you will see another sign that says Eternal Flame 1.4 miles, so keep going and pull into that... 
    This was on my bucket list and it was so worth it! After you see the sign for Chestnut Ridge Park, you will see another sign that says Eternal Flame 1.4 miles, so keep going and pull into that...  more »
  • Not a very long hike but at times the ground can be quite slippery and the train challenging especially for someone who has any issues like myself otherwise when you get to the flame it is an amazing....  more
    Not a very long hike but at times the ground can be quite slippery and the train challenging especially for someone who has any issues like myself otherwise when you get to the flame it is an amazing....  more »
Google
  • Quick hike. We had to cross the creek a few times. It was only about an inch deep, and we were mostly able to step on rocks to get across, so boots aren't a necessity but are probably a good idea. Very much worth the short trek! The waterfall itself is breathtaking but add in the natural phenomenon of the eternal flame, and it kind of leaves you awestruck.
  • Hike was strenuous but amazing. Better wear good traction water resistant shoes. Be prepared to be amazed by the surroundings. Over the half mile it seemed from sign but very well marked flame signs!!

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