This Giant Waterfall In California Looks Like Actual Spilling Lava

It's 2,130 feet tall!
This Giant Waterfall In California Looks Like Actual Spilling Lava

If you love to travel, chances are you've already made a drool-worthy Pinterest board of all the places you want to go in life. Well, we've got something else you should add to your growing list. If you haven't heard of the Yosemite Firefall before, prepare to have your mind blown. California seems to have outdone herself this time.

Every year, Horsetail Fall in Yosemite National Park creates the most beautiful optical illusion. During a particular time in winter, this giant waterfall looks like it's spilling hot lava! 

You're probably wondering what Mother Nature's big secret is.

During the second week of February, the setting sun hits Horsetail Fall at just the right angle, illuminating the upper part of the 2,130-foot tall waterfall

Perfect conditions make the cascading water and mist burst out into a fiery red and gold glow during sunset. 

If you want to see the magic happen, the best time to visit the park is during the second week of February.

Thousands of visitors travel from all over the world to see this phenomenon every year. But, many people don't know one of the coolest things about the "Firefall."

It changes every year! How it looks not only depends on how much water is flowing from the top but also on the warm glow it receives from the sunset. 

If the 2020 weather gods bless us and conditions are right, you can see the falls light up for up to 10 minutes. We're thankful the park has many optimal viewing points. 

Grab your BFFs or your lover, wrap up in cozy blankets, and get ready for the show of a lifetime. You can stop anywhere between Yosemite Falls and the scenic picnic area in El Capitan to watch the falls light up.  

All guests must park by Yosemite Falls and take a short walk over. The national park entrance fee is $35 per vehicle or $30 per motorcycle. Crowds start gathering as early as 2 p.m. to watch the Firefall.

Temperatures are very chilly in the winter, so make sure to dress in layers and bring gloves and a hat to stay warm. A big thermos of hot chocolate sounds good too. 

Those who want to stay longer can either opt to camp in the cold outdoors (bonus: a sky full of stars). Or you can choose something a little warmer like the nearby AutoCamp Yosemite with trendy, upscale cabins and airstreams. 

This is one trip you'll never be able to forget. Happy travels. 

Horsetail Falls: Firefall

Price: $30 Yosemite National Park entrance fee per vehicle

When: During the second week of February

Location: Horsetail Falls, Yosemite National Park, California

Why You Should Go: You can watch this massive waterfall glow that looks like spilling lava.


We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.

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