The Eternal Flame Falls at Chestnut Ridge State Park
The Eternal Flame Falls is located in a part of Chestnut Ridge State Park in Orchard Park, New York and is truly one of the most unique waterfalls in the state!
About Chestnut Ridge State Park:
This park is known to be a perfect family destination because it contains not only hiking trails, but cycling paths, playing fields, tennis courts, as well as picnic and shelter facilities. Throughout the winter, this location is an ideal place for skiing, sledding and snowshoeing.
The Eternal Flame Falls:
Found on the outskirts of the park boundaries, the Shale Creek trail begins on the southern edge of the park, leading you to the Eternal Flame Falls.
This flame is located in a cave on a cliff that is guarded by a waterfall. It is highly dependent on the rain water and melted snow water from the park and usually only flows throughout the spring.
A small grotto at the waterfalls base emits natural gas that fuels the flame, and as you approach it, you will experience the rotten-egg-like smell of it as it leaks into the air. These gases are known to be produced by the decomposition of organic materials within the rock, which under pressure, push throughout any crack and loose layers and seep through out the grotto that can be lit!
Most commonly asked questions:
Can you visit the eternal flame?
Yes! The Chestnut Ridge State Park is open year-round between the hours of 7:00 A.M. to dusk (or 9:00 P.M.).
Does the eternal flame falls go out?
Yes! Despite its reputation for the flame being "eternal" high winds can sometimes blow water into the flame causing it to go out! However, hikers are known to relight the flame when it happens.
How difficult is the hike to eternal flame falls?
In August of 2023 the Chestnut Ridge State Park was temporarily closed for renovations. These new updates included 139 brand-new box steps, 120 feet of railing and a re-aligned section bypassing the most dangerous part of the former trail, making the new trail safer and more accessible. It is considered a moderate trail.
Eternal Flame Falls Directions
Chestnut Ridge State Park 6121 Chestnut Ridge Road
Map of the Eternal Flame Trail: