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California Trails

See a Firefall in Winter

Yosemite National Park, California

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Winter’s plummeting temps and low-angle sunlight bring a little extra pizzazz to Yosemite’s iconic waterfalls. To see an ephemeral, flame-red “firefall” pouring from El Capitan’s eastern face, head toward Horsetail Fall in the second half of February. When conditions are right—high water, fair skies, and a clear sunset—the sun strikes Horsetail just so, lighting it up in glowing shades of red and orange that look just like tumbling lava. For the best views, start at El Capitan Picnic Area and stroll east into the snowy meadow for a good vantage. 

Season Mid- to late February Info Yosemite National Park

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