Monday 23 September 2019

A 'firefall' is blazing at Yosemite National Park... for one week only

The natural phenomenon turns Horsetail Falls into a blaze of lava-like light... for a limited time only

Yosemite 'firefall'. Photo: Deposit
Yosemite 'firefall'. Photo: Deposit
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

Yosemite National Park is famous for its waterfalls, but it has been delighting visitors this week with a 'firefall'.

The natural phenomenon, caused by the sun's rays hitting Horsetail Fall with Newgrange-like precision when clear skies and sufficient rainfall coincide, has been in full flow this week... delighting 'firefall-chasers' and, of course, Instagramers.

Horsetail Fall gushes down El Capitan, the famous 3,000-foot vertical rock formation featured in the Oscar-nominated Free Solo documentary.

The waterfall flows roughly from December to April, when snow is present atop of the monolith, with the sun hitting in afternoons.

The 'Firefall' light show is only visible for a short time in late-February, however - and has been attracting hordes of visitors and photographers this week.

The National Park has a designated parking area at Yosemite Lodge, from which visitors can walk to the viewing areas. You'll need to wrap up warm, however - the park has experienced heavy snowfalls and drivers are advised to carry tyre chains in their car (

After burning brightly, the 'fire' is expected to dissipate this weekend.

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