Breathtaking Pictures of Yosemite’s Firefall

Witness the beauty of Mother Earth with these surreal photographs of Yosemite’s firefall.

Don’t be alarmed; while it may look like this epic stream of red and orange is a trail of fire, the images below of Yosemite National Park are actually a beautiful trick of the light.

The illusion, which is found at Horsetail Fall near Yosemite National Park, almost looks as if lava is gushing down the cliffs. This phenomenon is actually known as “firefall,” which appears when “the angle of the sun sets the waterfall ablaze with reds and oranges, like a fire was falling down the cliffs on the shoulder of El Capitan,” according to Yosemite National Park.

The Yosemite National Park website also states:

The most convenient, and frequently shot view of Horsetail Fall is at the El Capitan picnic area, approximately 1.7 miles past Yosemite Lodge at the Falls on Northside Drive.  In late February, you’ll often see rows of photographers of all levels there catching the last rays of light in the evening.

Many photographers seek to capture this unique images, with the best results produce by those willing to explore various angles and locations in order to capture the perfect light. Below we’ve collected some of the best Instagram’s of Yosemite’s firefall.

“I Lava You” – Horsetail Fall, Yosemite National Park, CA. Each year during the second half of February, if there’s enough snowpack atop El Capitan, if the temperature’s warm enough to produce enough snowmelt, if the western skies are clear, and if the setting sun hits the water and spray at just the right angle, the natural phenomenon of Firefall occurs. We arrived at the park late in the afternoon this past Saturday and found a parking spot along Southside Dr. halfway between Cathedral and Sentinel beaches just as the orange glow was beginning. The place was absolutely packed for this rare show, but I found a tiny opening and wedged myself between a photographer and a tourist. Squatting on wet, slippery ice with the photographer’s backside a few inches from my grill, I managed to get this shot of Firefall at its peak glow. ______________________________ Nikon D7100, Nikon 28-300. 125mm, f/14, 1/5 sec, ISO 100. Lightroom & IG. ______________________________ #firefall #yosemitenationalpark #yosemite_national_park #yosemitenation #findyourpark #nationalparkgeek #horsetailfalls #wildcalifornia ​​#rawcalifornia #visitcalifornia #californiaholics​ #ignorcal #ig_waterfalls #hotshotz_water #aqua_gallery​ ​#water_brilliance #water_perfection #igworldclub_h2o #exclusive_water #water_shots #water_captures #ig_northamerica #igs_america #ig_all_americas #bw_beautifulworld #ic_february #multi_180216 #magical_shots_ #california4fun A photo posted by Jeff (@jeffreyplui) on


Amanda Kohr is a 25-year-old writer and photographer with a penchant for yoga, food, and travel.  She prefers to bathe in the moonlight rather than the sun, and enjoys living in a state of the three C’s: cozy, creative, and curious. When she’s not writing, you can find her driving her VW Bug, looking for the next roadside attraction or family diner. She also roams the internet at and through Instagram.