If you’re looking for a magical hike where you can see a natural eternal flame, the Eternal Flame Trail in Chestnut Ridge Park outside Buffalo is worth checking out. This relatively short but scenic hike leads to a small natural gas spring that is usually ignited, creating a perpetual flame.
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How Difficult is the Hike to Reach the Eternal Flame Falls?
The hike to reach the eternal flame at the end of the trail is only about 2 miles round-trip but some sections can be steep and slippery. The trail itself mainly follows an old rail bed and is mostly wide and clear, making it accessible for most hiking abilities. However, getting down to the creek bed near the waterfall area involves navigating some exposed tree roots and slippery shale which may be tough if it has rained or you’re not wearing proper shoes.
What is the Eternal Flame Trail Like?
The Eternal Flame Trail is located within Chestnut Ridge Park in the town of Orchard Park, just south of Buffalo in western New York. The main entrance to the trail is from a parking lot off Seufert Road. From the parking area, the flat wide dirt trail heads into the woods. For the first half of the hike, you’ll enjoy a relaxing trek through the woods with views of Chestnut Ridge. Along the trail you may see other hikers, especially on weekends, but it’s usually not too crowded.
How Do I Find the Eternal Flame Falls?
Once you reach about the halfway point after around 1 mile, you’ll start to descend downhill towards Shale Creek. Here the trail gets narrower and rockier. Look for signs pointing you towards the left to locate the falls. As you get closer, you’ll drop down into the lush ravine area. Be prepared for some slippery shale rock as you make your way along the creek bed towards the bottom.
Read Also : Exploring the Lone Star Hiking Trail
What Is at the End of the Eternal Flame Trail?
At the end of the Eternal Flame Trail, after navigating the slippery descent, you’ll find yourself at the small but beautiful Eternal Flame Falls. Here a natural gas spring feeds the waterfall and can be ignited to create a flame ranging from 4-8 inches in height. It’s a magical sight to see the perpetual flame burning in the small grotto setting. Take some time to enjoy the scenic falls before beginning the hike back out.
When Is the Best Time to Visit Eternal Flame Falls?
The best times to visit Eternal Flame Falls are generally mornings in spring, summer or fall when it’s less likely to be crowded. Early spring like April and May offers the advantage of seeing the falls at higher flow volumes after winter snowmelt without as many mosquitoes. Fall, especially late September through October, is also lovely with changing foliage colors. Try to avoid weekends if possible as it can get more crowded then.
Questions People Have About Reaching the Eternal Flame
- Is the flame always burning? – No, the flame isn’t guaranteed to be burning at all times as natural gas levels fluctuate. Come prepared with a lighter just in case.
- How long is the hike? – The round-trip hike is about 2-3 miles depending on how much time you spend at the falls. Plan for at least 1-2 hours total.
- What type of shoes should I wear? – Bring shoes with good tread that can get wet like waterproof boots. The last section involves some slippery shale so hiking shoes with ankle support are best.
- Is it strenuous? – While the hike has some moderate uphill and downhill sections, the trail itself is wide and clear for the most part making it accessible for most hiking abilities. Just watch your footing near the falls.
- What’s the parking situation? – Parking is available at the lot off Seufert Road near the main trailhead entrance. It’s a large paved lot that usually has ample space.
- When is the best season? – spring through fall when temperatures are moderate. Avoid if heavy rains as trail can get muddy.
Final Thoughts on the Magical Eternal Flame Hike
The Eternal Flame Trail offers a unique opportunity to see a natural perpetual flame in a beautiful wooded setting just outside Buffalo. While some sections involve navigating slippery surfaces, the hike overall is quite accessible for most skill levels. Just be sure to wear sturdy shoes and go prepared for potential wet conditions. Whether you’re a local looking for a scenic nearby hike or a visitor exploring Western New York, the magical sight of the eternal flame burning at the end makes the moderate 2-3 mile trek well worth it. Just be sure to leave no trace and follow trail etiquette to ensure this special place stays protected for all to enjoy.
- Wear hiking boots or shoes that can get wet
- Bring plenty of water and a lighter
- Watch your footing on slippery shale sections
- Be prepared for mosquitoes in warmer months
- Don’t lean too close to the flame pooling at the falls
- Pack out all trash to keep the area clean
Q: What is Eternal Flame Falls?
A: Eternal Flame Falls is a natural phenomenon located in Chestnut Ridge Park, New York, where a small flame burns behind a waterfall.
Q: How do I get to Eternal Flame Falls?
A: To reach Eternal Flame Falls, you need to take the Eternal Flame Trail in Chestnut Ridge Park. The trailhead is located in Orchard Park, New York.
Q: How long is the hike to Eternal Flame Falls?
A: The hike to Eternal Flame Falls is approximately 0.5 miles one way, making it a short but moderately challenging trek.
Q: What should I bring for the hike to Eternal Flame Falls?
A: It’s recommended to bring proper footwear, a lighter or matches to ignite the flame, and drinking water for the hike to Eternal Flame Falls.
Q: Can anyone ignite the eternal flame at the end of the trail?
A: Yes, visitors are allowed to carefully ignite the eternal flame with a lighter or matches, but it should be done with caution and respect for the environment.
Q: Is the trail to Eternal Flame Falls suitable for all ages?
A: The trail can be moderately challenging at times, with some steep and rocky sections, so it may not be suitable for very young children or those with mobility issues.
Q: Are there accommodations near Eternal Flame Falls?
A: There are various accommodation options available in the nearby cities of Hamburg, Buffalo, and Orchard Park for visitors planning to explore Eternal Flame Falls.
Q: What is the best time to visit Eternal Flame Falls?
A: The best time to visit Eternal Flame Falls is during the spring or after a recent rainfall when the falls are more likely to be flowing and the eternal flame is easier to ignite.
Q: Are pets allowed on the trail to Eternal Flame Falls?
A: Yes, pets are allowed on the trail, but they must be kept on a leash, and owners should be mindful of the natural surroundings and other hikers.
Q: Is Eternal Flame Falls overcrowded with tourists?
A: The popularity of Eternal Flame Falls has increased in recent years, so it’s advisable to visit early in the day or during less crowded times to fully enjoy the experience.