There’s nothing like a brisk hike on a crisp fall day in Western New York, especially if the leaves have started changing color. After seeing the forecast for Saturday, I decided it was time to tackle the illusive hike to the eternal flame at Chestnut Ridge Park. Most people know Chestnut Ridge for its great sledding hills but I wanted to check this flame out. The website doesn’t offer much guidance to those looking to hike to the flame, so I did a bit of googling for some advice. I stumbled on two blogs, one by Donna Carroll Bratton and this one on the WNY Trails Blog, both blogs led me right to the slightly hidden and unmarked entrance.
To find the entrance if you are coming from the City of Buffalo, you get off the 219 at the Armor Duells exit, turn right onto Armor Duells and then turn right on Chestnut Ridge Road. Follow Chestnut Ridge Road as it takes you through the park and out, there will be a bend in the road and then you will Seufert Road on the right. Turn onto Seufert and then, almost immediately on your right, you can pull off and park. You will see two cement posts with an orange gate. That’s the entrance to the path to the eternal flame.
The actual hike is very easy and my GPS said it was about 1.5 miles round trip.There are helpful blue blocks nailed to trees to keep you on the path, as you get closer to the flame you will also see little flames on trees marking the path.
There were only two spots where I was slightly confused.
The first is near the beginning and looked like this:
Go left here.
The second time is when you get down toward the creek and there are two large fallen trees over the path.
Just go under both and keep following the creek and you can't miss the eternal flame at the end.
What a cool sight when you get there, literally. It’s pretty amazing to see the flame from a distance and up close. The flame is inside a little cave in the middle of a waterfall and it just looks like the ground is on fire. It's a natural gas leak that is kept lit by frequent guest.
I would recommend wearing good walking shoes that can get wet. You will be climbing over rocks in the creek as you get closer. There are a few inclines but the path is worn and overall the whole hike took about an hour. I was also stopping to take lots of pictures. The trees were starting to change color and we only ran into one other group of people, so it was very private. There really isn’t anywhere to sit along the way, unless you plop down on a fallen tree.
There are also great walking trails back at Chestnut Ridge Park with different loops depending on how far you want to go. Here’s a great map if you want to check out the loops. Where’s your favorite place to hike in Chestnut Ridge?