Eternal Flame Falls, Orchard Park

#62 of 287 in Nature in New York State
Must see · Waterfall · Nature / 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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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
169 reviews
  • My wife and I hiked the crude trail down to the stream and she had to stop at the log jam blocking the way just before the falls which was a disappointment. I climbed over to see the flame which was.....  more »
  • Its a hike to get to and to see but its very much worth it! Just wear proper shoes and remember the hike down is not difficult and the hike back is all uphill! And please dont climb the rock wall...  more »
  • The trail that lead to the ravine was very clean and easy to walk. The ravine leading to the flame was awesome - very pretty with sunbeams coming through. It was late in the rain season when we went so we could walk directly in on the creek bed. Loved it and you will too.
  • It's a very great place to hike. Saw lot of families and kids, so don't hesitate in bringing yours. It's about 0.53 miles long on one side with steep elevation at some points. Just some additional info for called freak, you'll burn between 400-550 calories depending on your weight.
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