This is a challenging but short hike to the bottom of a 35-foot waterfall and gorge. At the bottom of the waterfall you will find this spot's unique feature: a natural flame that flares from inside a grotto.
The difficulty of this trail varies depending on the weather. If conditions are very wet, the trail can become increasingly difficult as you are hiking down a 150-foot gorge.
The trail begins as you walk through the Shale Creek Preserve gated entrance. Follow the open woods trail into an open field and re-enter the woods onto a trail. Do not cross through the middle of the field or you will get off course.
Soon the trail will become less open and more wooded. At this point you should always bear to the left towards the gorge. Follow the trail along and down into the gorge. The remainder of the hike will be along the creek bed to the flame and waterfall.
The gas pressure of the flame continuously varies. If the flame is out when you reach it, flick a lighter toward the back wall of the grotto. The flame is very tame and will not explode. However, all fire can be dangerous and caution should be taken.
NOTE: The visual effect of the flame can best be observed at night. However, the difficulty of the trail increases significantly at night and should only be attempted by someone familiar with the trail.
From the NYS Thruway take the Rt. 219 South exit. From Rt. 219, take the Armor Duells Rd. exit and turn East. At the next intersection, turn right onto Rt.277/ Chestnut Ridge Rd. Continue on Rt.277 past the entrance to the park and up the hill. Shortly after you pass Gartman Rd. on the left, Seufert Rd. will be on your right. Turn right onto Seufert Rd. and park along the side of the road in front of the gated entrance.
NOTE: Be sure that you car is completely off the road or you may get a ticket.
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