How to see Yosemite National Park's stunning 'firefall' phenomenon this year

Yosemite National Park's natural "firefall" phenomenon over the Horsetail Fall will return this year.
FRESNO, Calif. -- Yosemite National Park's natural "firefall" phenomenon over the Horsetail Fall will return this year.

The Horsetail Fall, which flows over the eastern edge of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, looks like a river of fire when the sunlight hits it at just the right angle.

The waterfall plunges about 1,500 feet, and if you didn't know any better, you might think you were watching a lava flow. The fleeting sight lasts for a short time.



Thousands of people flock to the national park to catch a glimpse of the phenomenon. It happens every sunset in late-February when the sky is clear.

The National Park Service says the window for the 2021 "firefall" is February 12 through February 24.

Restrictions to parking, visitor access and traffic will be in effect from 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm starting February 13. Click here for more details.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, visitors must reserve a day-use pass to enter the park starting Monday, February 8. This includes seniors and annual pass holders.

The South Gate from Highway 41 remains closed, and park officials are projecting it won't open until Thursday.

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