Horsetail Falls is famous because it looks like it’s on fire. But it only looks this way for two weeks of the year.
The Yosemite valley is known for many geological sights: Half-Dome, Tunnel View, El Capitan, Yosemite Chapel, and Horsetail Falls. Horsetail Falls is a waterfall that drops 1,000 feet and flows from December through April. Every spring, lucky viewers have a two-week window where the waterfall looks like it is made of lava.
There are a few things that have to line up perfectly to make the waterfall glow. First, there has to be enough water for the fall to flow; which means that the valley had to have significant snowfall over the winter. Next, the sun has to hit the waterfall at the right angle so that it turns red. That angle at sunset is only found in the spring during a short two-week window in February. Finally, the sunset cannot be obscured by clouds so the weather has to be good.
Ready to witness the magic of Horsetail Falls?
Many campers, hikers, and adventure-seekers have traveled to Yosemite National Park just to catch a glimpse of this lava waterfall. It is a rare sight that many hope they see in a lifetime.
Yosemite Valley holds a special place in many adventurers’ hearts, but none as famous as John Muir:
“It is by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter.”