Eternal Flame of New York State! Does It Exist or Just Urban Legend?
Have you ever seen an eternal flame? They aren't very common and typically designated for military honors such as the eternal flame at the gravesite for President John F. Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery. Not all of them are manmade however.
Some people have asked if a natural eternal flame even exists. Hell yeah it exists and we have one of only a few hundred in the entire world right here in New York. It will take some hiking and exploring but it can be located.
The first thing to do in your search for the flame is to plan ahead. You'll need to drive approximately 4 hours to get to Shale Creek Preserve in Orchard Park. Once you get there plan for about an hour to hike the loop. Soon you will start to smell rotten eggs! Now you are getting close!
The smell of rotten eggs comes from the natural gases that emit at the base of the Eternal Flame Falls. According to Live Science, this flame is fed by gas seeping to the Earth's surface from under the shale. But even within this rarefied group, this flame is special. Perhaps lit by Native Americans hundreds or thousands of years ago.
According to Visit Buffalo Niagara, the best place to start your hike is about 1.5 miles south of the park entrance, further down Route 277. Once you find it you will see a flame around 4-8 inches in height, when it's lit. Yes, apparently what is eternal is the gas. Occasionally the flame itself goes out but can easily be re-lit so bring along a lighter or something that will ignite the flame.