Get us in your inbox

Firefall in Yosemite
Photograph: Shutterstock

Yosemite's famous firefall will glow again next month

Here's how to see the rare, natural phenomenon.

Written by
Sarah Medina

We don't have to tell you about all the gorgeous natural wonders that exist in Yosemite National Park. From Yosemite Valley to Half Dome, the country's most-visited national park is a sight to behold. But every February, something truly magical happens in Yosemite. We're talking about the famous Yosemite firefall.

Have no idea what we're talking about? Let us explain. Every year, at the end of February, the sun hits Horsetail Fall on the east side of El Capitan. At just the right angle, it glows a fiery orange at sunset, making the waterfall look like a glowing lava stream as it cascades down the mountain. It's incredible to behold, and the annual event, which lasts for just about two weeks, is known to attract more than 2,000 visitors and sightseers in a single day. 

In years past, Yosemite has tried to curb the crowds and protect the surrounding flora and fauna—including instituting a reservation system in 2018. You don’t have to book in advance this year, but there are still rules in place if you want to see the phenomenon. 

This year's firefall is expected to glow nightly from February 10—28, with restrictions in place every day. Starting February 10, visitors have to leave their car at Yosemite Falls parking, and walk one and a half miles (each way) to the viewing area near El Capitan Picnic Area. It's recommended that visitors bring warm clothing and a headlamp or a flashlight. 

Roads may be closed to vehicles around the area, and parking, stopping, and unloading passengers will be prohibited in several areas, so be sure to check with the NPS website first if you're thinking of going. And don't forget that it's now mandatory to wear masks on federal land, which includes national parks.

Latest news


    The best things in life are free.

    Get our free newsletter – it’s great.

    Loading animation
    Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

    🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

    Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!