What Is It? Every year in February, for only a few days, Horsetail Falls in Yosemite bursts into a fiery glow that makes it look as if fire is tumbling down the cliff.
Why Do It? The unique phenomenon, which few get to see, requires a precise combination of snowmelt and sunlight to work its magic. This occurs as the sun sets at a certain angle, illuminating the waterfall in fiery red and luminescent orange, making it appear like a fluid fire. If temperatures are too cold, the snow will stay frozen and the waterfall won’t flow. The western sky also has to be clear at sunset – if it’s raining, snowing or even just cloudy, the rays of the sun will be blocked, which means the falls won’t light up.
Good to Know: Some photographers come every year for years, only to see it happen once or twice. When everything comes together and conditions are right, the “firefall” will last for about 10 minutes. If you’d like the chance to experience it in person, plan to be here around the second week of February and hope for the best!