Watch This Year's “Firefall" Light Up Yosemite Once Again


Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

clockFeb 16 2017, 21:58 UTC

Kevin Key via Storyful/YouTube

For a couple of weeks each February, a “firefall” lights up a mountainside in Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Nevada mountains. This year, it's back with a vengeance and as stunning as ever.

The phenomenon takes place over Horsetail Fall on the eastern edge of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley. It only occurs on certain evenings in mid-to-late February, when winter begins to ease up and the area's snowpack melts, creating a gush of water. It also requires the setting Sun to be at a specific angle when it hits the falling water. You'll also notice that the images of the firefall are all taken from the same point, accounting for this angle of light from the Sun. It's best viewed on a crystal clear evening, as even slight cloudiness can dampen the effects. 


If all those factors come together just right, you're in for a treat.

“The waterfall is bigger than it has been in a long time due to all the rain and snow we have received,” National Park Service spokesman Scott Gediman told CNN.

Just like previous years, nature lovers and like-hungry Instagrammers are lapping up the sights of the “firefall” cascading down the Californian cliffside. The National Park Service website provides information on the best places to view it from, but if you're not lucky enough to see it with your own eyes, check out the video and photographs below.



  • tag
  • lava,

  • video,

  • optical illusion,

  • California,

  • yosemite,

  • Yosemite National Park,

  • waterfall,

  • firefall,

  • Sierra Nevada