Yosemite’s Rare Firefall Is The Most Beautiful Waterfall You’ll See
It will appear in late February, but only if everything comes together just right!
There are many reasons to explore Yosemite National Park year-round. Visitors come from around the world to enjoy hiking, camping, rock-climbing and more. While the summer is a popular time of year to visit, a rare mid-winter event may convince you to book a trip much sooner. A firefall may return for a fleeting appearance in late February at the park — that is, if everything comes together just right.
On an ordinary day, the waterfalls and rock formations around the park are beautiful. This rare sight is truly spectacular. However, conditions must be perfect to create the firefall.
First, the Horsetail Fall must be flowing. When there’s enough snow in the previous months and the temperature is just right, the waterfall flows 1,570 feet down the east face of El Capitan. That water comes from runoff from the melting snow.
For a firefall, the western sky must be clear, which allows the sun’s rays to shine directly on the waterfall and illuminate the water in such a way that it looks like glowing lava is tumbling down the rocks.
If everything converges just so, the resulting sight and pictures are stunning. Even though there’s no guarantee the firefall will occur, millions of people flock to the park for a chance to see it themselves.
“Finally, as the sun’s rays moved towards the fall, I saw the color of the water changing,” photographer Sangeeta Dey shared with National Geographic. “As [the waterfall] glowed in yellows, oranges and reds, I realized I had tears flowing down. It was a very emotional moment for me.”
Before you start travel planning, take a look at some spectacular firefall snaps from photographers.
The firefall is so incredible, it doesn’t need a filter. In fact, this visitor preferred the original photo over an edited version.
SFGate shared multiple shots from visitors to commemorate the rare sight.
Even furry friends appreciate this incredible waterfall.
"The Horsetail Firefall, again?" – Sinatra ➡️ "I don't mind! I love going out and explore! Yay! 🕵️" – Sinatra • "Hello! Would you like me to feature YOUR account? Where have you been? What have you seen? Just follow me (@alfrescodog) on Instagram and include the hashtag #alfrescodog on the photo(s) you would like featured. Show us your adventures!" – Sinatra
Even though the appearance of this firey sight is brief, it brings together hundreds of people hoping for the perfect shot.
Out of all the photos I took on my trip through the western US, this is by far the most notable. Horsetail falls lights up only one month of the year and literally appears to be on fire. There were hundreds of people lined up on the valley floor at a few specific spots for this shot. Lasted only about 5 minutes and still amazes me 😮
As long as the conditions are right, we can look forward to more stunning snaps this February. So get your camera fired up for the firefall!