The Eternal Flame of Orchard Park

Not far outside of Buffalo, NY is a place called Orchard Park. I often say that I’ve lived in this state my whole life and continue to find new things. This is exactly one of those times. Orchard Park is about an hour from where I grew up and this weekend I discovered a beautiful bit of nature with my family on a hike.

The sight is called the eternal flame and it’s pretty magical to see in person. The hike is a bit difficult and requires a trek through some mud, across some shale, and over a lot of fallen trees. When you get there you’ll see a beautiful shale waterfall with about 4-5 flames burning behind the falling water. On a fall day you really couldn’t ask for a more beautiful sight.

The flame is actually the result of methane gas leaking out of a few small holes. There are other spots where the gas escapes, however because of the water, there is only one small spot where the gas can be lit.

Scientists have come from as far as Italy to study how the gas is escaping naturally through the seeps. It was determined in 2013 that tectonic activity was what split the shale and allowed for the methane gas to be released.

The flame is visible year round, so I may have to visit it again in the winter time. For a surprisingly simple thing it’s beauty did draw quite a crowd.

4 Comments

  1. Just wanna comment on few general things, The website style is perfect, the subject material is real great.

  2. Everyone in Buffalo knows about this, how did you not know?? I haven’t been there in years though.

  3. That’s a brilliant mini world wonder you have there!

  4. This is so weird! How’d I not know about this thing?!

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