Yosemite’s Popular ‘Firefall’ Natural Phenomenon is Returning in February

Flickr/Wayne Hsieh

Adventure seekers and photographers are preparing to flock to Yosemite National Park, trekking through the mounds of snow to see a natural phenomenon that is only visible during two weeks out of the year.

Horsetail Fall is typically not that unique in Yosemite, where waterfalls are vast and beautiful. It’s a somewhat low-flow waterfall that flows about 1,000 feet down off the eastern edge of El Capitan to the ground. But when the water flows are strong and the lighting is right, this waterfall lights up and appears to be on fire. This phenomenon typically appears for about two weeks near the end of February and can cause quite the tourist attraction for people looking for a rare view.

It remains to be seen exactly when the natural phenomenon will occur in February and how long it will last, but the hype is beginning to build in NorCal. The event in 2019 was one for the ages. Typically, the event draws thousands of people to the park, no matter the weather in Yosemite. We will continue to publish updates on the natural phenomenon when the dates become more clear.

To see Horsetail Fall, park at the El Capitan picnic area or in turnouts just east of the picnic area. You can see the waterfall from the road. Here are our favorite videos/photos of the phenomenon at Yosemite’s Horsetail Falls from the past few years:

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Dancing Fire 🔥 It’s almost that time of the year again! When I first moved to the Bay Area I remember coming across an article about the “Firefall” phenomenon and wondering to myself if I would ever have a chance to witness it in person. Through a series of small serendipities, I somehow managed to catch Firefall my first and only trip to Yosemite so far two years ago. We originally chose this particular weekend thinking it’d be too early for Firefall and going earlier to avoid the usual craziness during this period. A photographer we came across during sunrise mentioned Firefall might be happening due to the clear sky conditions. We kept that in mind but almost passed up on the opportunity when we were adamant about searching for some epic puddle reflections. Thankfully we missed our turn (Yosemite Valley is a one way street) and then saw a large number of photographers assembled in one area. “It must be happening!” And so we abandoned reflection hunting and camped out with everyone. Best decision made ever. What unexpected adventures or experiences have you had so far? Check out my new blog post (link in profile) for a guide to shooting Firefall. . . . . #wildbayarea #wildcalifornia #visitcalifornia #passionpassport #bucketlisters #sonyimages #sonyalpha #tlpicks #awesomeearth #GS10k #instagood10k #creative_ace #cc5k #visualmobs #theimaged #shotzdelight #aov5k #omd_5k #creativeoptic #ourcolourdays #fatalframes10k #moods_in_frame #vol10k #visualambassadors #discoverer #earth_shotz #heatercentral #gramslayers

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Firefall setting the fire! 🔥😍⠀ It was our first time watching the firefall and it was incredible experience amidst freezing weather!⠀ .⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀ #IG_MyShot #earth_shotz #naturalcalifornia #depthofearth #ig_cameras_united #ourplanetdaily #ig_podium #nature_perfection #global_creatives #global_exposures #ig_color #Global_HotShotz #ShotzDelight #Splendid_Earth #EarthFocus⠀⠀⠀ #versatile_photo_ #master_gallery #wildcalifornia #nikonusa#womenempowerwomenphotographers #ig_escaype #igs_america #yosemite_national_park #naturalunited⠀⠀ #norcalroam #caliexplored #firefall #horsetailfalls #sunsetmadness #sunset_capture

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2/21/19 – Horsetail Falls, Yosemite Valley, CA It took a month of planning, two separate trips to Yosemite over four days, countless miles of trekking through the snow, and I now have the flu, but i couldn’t be happier with the outcome. . For those unfamiliar, the “fire” you’re seeing in this photo is the blowing mist coming off of Horsetail Falls in Yosemite being backlit by the setting sun shining through a very small gap in valley. This natural phenomenon typically happens once every couple of years, but the intense display you’re seeing in this photo, is probably more of a once-in-a-lifetime experience 🙏🏼 . Was a pleasure sharing this epic view with @shirazography @johnnyedgephotography @danieltyee and @jamesmcgrewfineart . Big cheers to all my road trip brothers and sisters @fitzsimonsphotography @chaitravels @skygreene and all the amazing folks i ran into in Yosemite in the 4 days I spent there last week @bersonphotos @misslexy76 @gettyphotography @s1mmonds @jen_grand @joehollandfishing @mtflesh , hope you guys captured some pure gold as well 🙌🏼

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