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Yosemite's 'Firefall' Waterfall is Incredibly Cool, But Extremely Rare

March 19, 2014 at 10:42 AM | by | ()

Travelers wishing to see the waterfalls of Yosemite National Park at their best should schedule their trip during the spring months, when the winter snow melts and plunges down towards the valley floor in full force. The summer months, by contrast, are extremely dry and the waterfalls tend to turn off.

Those visiting Yosemite during the colder months should be warned of the chance of snow closures and reduced accessibility, but those within weekend or day-trip distance of the park might be interested to know that winter does offer visitors the chance to see a pretty cool phenomenon that happens only during a certain window of time in February, when the setting sun shines in a unique way on Horsetail Fall and creates a "Firefall."

In middle to late February, the setting winter sun backlights Horsetail Fall, causing it to look more like a flow of lava than a waterfall. Depending on the cloud cover and the amount of water, the show can be quite spectacular, as seen in the photos.

A photographer's dream, herds head to the park during this otherwise quiet time of year to capture the novelty with their cameras. The most-accessible place to see it from is the El Capitan picnic area, which is easily located on any map and directly off the main road of Yosemite Valley.

With our warning about the potential drawbacks of traveling to the park in the winter already said and understood, this is a hell of a reason to throw some chains on your tires and make the trek if you're feeling adventurous.

[Photo: Culture Ledger/Royces World]

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