Our quest for unexplored places never stops. V came across Eternal Flame Falls from a random Vblog, and we decided to explore this hidden gem in upstate New York.
A 6-hour drive through scenic landscapes of Pennsylvania and New York we reached our destination Orchard Park in Erie County, NY.
We were hiking the Chestnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park to get to the falls. We learnt there was more than one trail ranging from 0.2 to 2.6 miles, easy to challenging trails to reach our goal and we chose the half-miler moderate hiking trail as it was only a few hours before dusk.
Although it was just a half-mile, the steep grades and obstructions make the hike a little treacherous and exciting. I think this was one of the trails with the best markers.
30 minutes into the trail we reached the base of the small waterfall, with a natural gas fuelled flame burning in its grotto. Although we had seen a million pictures online while planning the trip, the first glimpse in person is always extraordinary. Water was scarce; perhaps it’s dry this time of the year. The grey and black rocky layer looked brittle, glimmering in the light produced by the flame, a sight to behold.
V said many years ago, wranglers might have lit firewood in the fissure for warmth, and the flame is burning ever since. Gases produced during decomposition within the rock deposits are pushed out through cracks. One large crevice located in the cavern, protecting seepage from falling water and wind, is perhaps enabling the flame to sustain. There might be many gas percolations around the falls, but locating them might be tricky, and also they might not hold fire as large as the first flame.
Eternal Flame Falls is indeed one of the unique waterfalls we have ever seen. If you are in Western NY, be sure to check this one out. I always recommended Thousand Islands to friends visiting Niagara, from now on I shall recommend Eternal Flame Falls as well.
Although the waterfall and the gas spring is 100% natural, the flame isn’t! Don’t forget to carry a lighter in case the flame isn’t burning. I swear it was when we were visiting! 😀