Yosemite Outlines Reservation Program for Popular Firefall in 2023

Yosemite National Park is world-renown for its stunning waterfalls, including the tallest in North America – Yosemite Falls. But for a short period in the winter, one waterfall steals the spotlight as it turns into a rare natural phenomenon.

For two weeks in February, Horsetail Falls amazes onlookers when the sunlight hits it perfectly and it appears the falling water is on fire. The event has gained popularity online and caused significant traffic issues for Yosemite officials. In order to manage this event, a reservation will be required to drive into Yosemite National Park on the weekends of February 10–12, February 17–19, and February 24–26, 2023.

During that time of year, thousands of visitors visit Horsetail Fall, a waterfall that creates the illusion that the water is on fire. The surge in visitation has led to full parking lots, parking overflowing into traffic lanes, pedestrian-vehicle conflicts causing safety issues, and damage to natural and cultural resources.

Crowds become an issue during the popular Firefall in Yosemite

Visitors who first arrive Mondays through Thursdays won’t need a reservation. The $35/car entrance fee is valid for entry for seven days, regardless of day of arrival. Reservations will go on sale for that event at Recreation.gov on Jan. 13, 2023 at 8 am PST. Each reservation will be valid for seven days.

If you have a lodging reservation for Yosemite Valley, Wawona, Foresta, or Yosemite West, you don’t need an additional reservation. If you have a campground reservation for Upper Pines, Camp 4, Wawona, or Hodgdon Meadow Campgrounds, you don’t need an additional reservation. Reservations will be required at Camp 4, Wawona, and Hodgdon Meadow Campgrounds from February 1 through February 28 (these campgrounds normally operate on a first-come, first-served basis in February). Reservations will be released on December 15 at 7 am at Recreation.gov.

Despite traffic and overcrowding issues within Yosemite National Park, officials have decided to abolish the current reservation system for summer 2023. Officials will now attempt to find a new way to distribute crowds in the popular park. An announcement will be made in December on how they will attempt to limit overcrowding at key areas.

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