A small flame is flickering inside a waterfall, and it's not a joke. It really exists and has a scientific explanation. The waterfall even got its name of the Eternal Flame Falls due to this phenomenon. This waterfall is located in the Shale Creek Preserve, Chestnut Ridge Park in Western New York.
So what's the secret? A small grotto hidden beneath the waterfall emits natural gas, which produces this small flame. Such natural gas pockets are quite common, but the fact that it is right inside the waterfall with water around it makes this place truly unique.
The flame is visible almost year round, but summer months are the driest, so there might be no water flowing down the falls. It's also the busiest time of the year. Hikers bring lighters along in case the fire is extinguished by water to lit it up again.
The Eternal Flame Falls is located within Chestnut Ridge Park outside of North Boston, New York. It's less than an hour drive from Niagara Falls and about a six-seven hour drive from New York City. If you happen to be in western New York, make sure to grab a lighter and visit this magical place.
When is the best time to visit the Eternal Flame Falls in Niagara Falls?
To see the flame, the best time to visit the Eternal Flame Falls is between September to May. With less crowd, it's easier to see the flame, and the water flow is higher, making the flame visible. The summer months have a lower water flow, which can hide the flame, and it's also the busiest season. Show more
Where is the Eternal Flame Falls located within Chestnut Ridge Park?
The Eternal Flame Falls is found in Chestnut Ridge Park in Western New York, outside of North Boston. Visitors can walk an easy one-mile trail from Shale Creek Preserve's parking lot to locate the falls, with a grotto hidden beneath the waterfall surrounded by thick vegetation. Show more
How does natural gas contribute to the flame's existence in the waterfall?
Methane gas from a natural gas pocket under the waterfall creates the small, continuously burning flame. The gas is believed to be from organic matter decomposition underground. The flame's location in the heart of the waterfall makes it rare and a phenomenon hardly visible in other places globally. Show more
Can the flame be seen during summer months when the water flow is low?
Low water flow throughout the summer months can hide the flame, making it impossible to see. Since adequate water is required to protect the flame from the constant wind and water pressure, a lighter should be brought during this time to relight the flame if weather conditions permit and to check the forecast to know the conditions beforehand. Show more
What other activities can visitors enjoy in Chestnut Ridge Park besides hiking to see the flame?
Chestnut Ridge Park has numerous recreational activities to keep visitors entertained. These include, among others, picnicking, tennis, volleyball, horseshoe pitching, skiing, snowboarding, playgrounds, a swimming pool, fishing, and renting the casino for events such as weddings. Family and group picnics can also be accommodated in the several pavilions set aside for these activities. Show more