Hidden in a sleepy little park in the northwestern corner of New York state is a rather unusual waterfall. Eternal Flame Falls gets its name from natural gas emissions in a tiny grotto in the waterfall’s face which produce enough gas to sustain flames behind the falling water.
We pulled into Chestnut Ridge Park, just south of Buffalo, yesterday and started on a pleasant hike through dappled forest. The way to the falls was signposted with rather mysterious-looking symbols painted on pine trees along the trail.
The river has cut a deep gorge into the surrounding landscape, but there was little evidence of flowing water as I trekked along the river bed. There was just a tiny stream of water trickling along in the heat of summer. The water captured the reflections of the trees towering above us and cast an eerie green glow along the trail. I couldn’t resist taking a few shots – you know how much I like reflections.
And then I saw flames, flickering away in the distance. On a good day, I had read, you might find two or three flames, sometimes a few inches in height – apparently this was a good day. There were four flames in total, a large defiant orange flame surrounded by three smaller flames, glowing and dancing beautifully in the darkness of their little cave behind the waterfall.
It was an absolutely wonderful treat at the end of a gorgeous trail, and if you’re ever in this part of the world, you should check it out. Huge thanks to my friend Susanne who told me about this little secret.
That was another excellent post today. Thanks so much for sharing. Keep up the fantastic job.
Thanks so much 🙂 I hope you get to visit for yourself one day. xxx
Count me in
Wow! So cool! Now I have YET ANOTHER place on my roadtrip list. 🙂 It’s OK. There are worse problems to have.
Haha glad to have inspired you and to have lengthened your future road trip 😉
A wonderful find and so unusual. Thanks for sharing.
BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!
Glad you enjoyed it, Francine. It really was lovely.
Wow! That’s awesome! I would definite add this on my list of places to visit. Thanks for sharing the journey and the photographs.
I highly recommend a visit if you’re ever in the area, Gracie. It’s a fun, gentle hike with a great payoff. Fire and water together in nature is pretty wonderful to behold.
A wondrous and miraculous find indeed. So untouched and raw and awe-inspiring indeed. Love the flames. Beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.
Hey Myra, thanks for following along with my hiking adventure. I just love cool discoveries like this. 🙂
So, am I the only one whose brain is playing The Bangles’ “Eternal Flame” while reading this post? 🙂 Thanks for telling us about a very cool spot I knew nothing about!
Bwaahaha Susie, too funny. I now have that song in my head. xxx Ailsa
Awesome adventure! Thanks for sharing
Glad you liked it scrapydo. It was a lot of fun. xxx Ailsa
wow! what a fascinating end to an interesting trail. I would love to go here some day. I loved your third and fourth pictures..reminds me of your post on Manhattan reflections in puddles. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Deepali, I hope you get to visit it for yourself some day! Yes, when I saw the 3rd and 4th photos I too thought about my puddle reflections of Times Square, and had to put them in this post. I am fascinated with reflection photos. 😉
A wonderful post on a really different place. Thank you!
I’m glad you enjoyed it, Denise. xxx Ailsa
Another cool adventure. The flames are just fascinating. Beautiful shots!
Thanks Amy, it was a very cool experience, and it was so exciting to catch the first glimpse of the flames flickering in the distance.
Wow!, fab shots Ailsa! Had never heard of this before! Seems like I will need to allot a LOT of time to your part of the world if and when I get there!
Thanks Madhu. When you make it to this part of the world. allow yourself plenty of time for adventures. There’s an awful lot of cool stuff to explore. xxx Ailsa
Wonderful! the reflections are most unusual and the flames at the end – wow!
It really was lovely, Gilly, hiking through the glen that was bathed in a shimmering green glow, and those flames were really beautiful, glistening behind the waterfall.
Great post! Thanks for sharing this wonderful ‘secret’.
Thanks deepa, secrets are best when shared 😉
Thanks, Madoqua, isn’t nature wonderful? 🙂
Fascinating stuff! Love the reflection on the water, beautiful pics.
Me too, I took a whole bunch of photos of the reflections, they were wonderful. xxx Ailsa
The reflections are wonderful. And how cool are those flames? 🙂
It really was the most exciting payoff to a hike I’ve experienced, Anne 🙂
Very beautiful! I loved the pictures!
Thanks Tiffany, I’m glad you enjoyed it. xxx Ailsa
Those symbols really are mysterious, Ailsa. Your hike yielded some amazing finds, and photos. Thanks for sharing. Love the flames in the cave. Really awesome. 🙂
There’s something terribly mystical about the combination of fire and water, adinparadise, and those symbols were really cool, like something from a bygone civilization. 🙂
Such a neat find. And, as a photographer, I must compliment you especially on the fourth photo: green reflections. It’s stunning.
Thanks so much for the compliment, Jennifer, I’m so glad you stopped by and commented so I could find your blog too – love your photos of vintage cars! xxx Ailsa
Seriously..how do you find this stuff?? Spectacular!!!
Haha, news, I have a love of the quirky and unexpected so I guess the universe just sends things my way. 😉
I love that about you!!! Keep them coming!!
COOL! Or should I say Hot Stuff! (ugh!)
Cool and hot at the same time, Gemma. 😉
Awesome. And now I’ve got the Bangles song running through my head too. That’s a fascinating find and story. Thanks for sharing!
♫ Is this burning an eternal flame… ♫ I’m singing it too 🙂
What a brilliant find, a naturally occuring flame how amazing.
It really is amazing, isn’t it? It was so exciting to round the last bend of the river bed and see the flames flickering away in the distance. 🙂
really amazing. Only nature can come with such surprises of water-flames!!!!!
Nature never ceases to amaze me, Cathy. It is a constant source of inspiration! xxx Ailsa
Wow! You were really there! I’m so jealous. 🙂 🙂 🙂 Wonderful blog and brilliant photos. Thanks for checking it out! 🙂
Thanks for suggesting it, Susanne! 🙂
What a cool find! Now I have a question for you. I get the whole gas emissions thing, but how is it lit? Did / does someone light it, is it spontaneous?
Oops, just saw this now, Jeff – actually, rogue hikers will set it alight as they pass by – it was already burning when we got there, so lovely to look at! 🙂
a similar phenomenon can be seen near Cirali in Southern Turkey. They are known as the Chimaera (yanartas in Turkish which literally means burning stones)
Ooh, awesome, traveller2006, I will make sure to seek these out when I’m in Turkey! xxx Ailsa
Wow. The flames are truly amazing. Just can’t figure out why are there flames in the midst of a flowing water? Sorry (0_o)! But, nonetheless, it is really amazing!
It’s a natural gas emission, GraCess_Mommy – and hikers passing by sometimes set it alight – it was already burning by the time we arrived – beautiful to behold!
That is too cool, although the location is not a big surprise. Niagara Falls is near there as is Letchworth. The same geological upheavals made all of them.
This is partway between Rochester and Buffalo, New York.
Hey, great post, Nancy – Letchworth wasn’t on my radar, otherwise I’d have tried to visit, it looks amazing. Next time!
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