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Yosemite’s blazing ‘Firefall’: You’ll need reservations for certain dates in February

<i>Liao Pan/China News Service/Getty Images</i><br/>
China News Service via Getty Ima
Liao Pan/China News Service/Getty Images
"Firefall" is seen at Yosemite National Park on February 23

By Forrest Brown, CNN

One of social media’s most fiery darlings is set to make another sensation in coming weeks.

It’s a spectacular, orange-tinged nature show called “Firefall.”

It happens when sunlight and water cooperate in just the right way at Yosemite National Park in California to create the memorable effect.

For the 2023 season, the first one is coming up this February. (A possible second one occurs in fall.)

The lava-lookalike spectacle happens at Horsetail Fall, which flows over the eastern edge of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, according to the National Park Service.

It’s a small waterfall, and it normally flows only during winter. But given the amount of precipitation California has received this winter from a series of waterlogged storms rolling off the Pacific Ocean, chances should be good for a great show.

Reservations required this year

Last year, no reservations were required. But you’ll need them this time out for certain dates to enter the park. The remaining dates are February 17-19 and February 24-26.

Click here for more information on reservations.

Yosemite also has some advice for folks who want to take in the view.

• Bring warm clothes and a headlamp or flashlight for each person in your party.

• Remember, this is winter in the Sierra Nevadas. Snowy and icy conditions are the norm — especially this winter.

• Have warm footwear and bring traction devices for your boots.

• Be ready to walk to and from the viewing area. It’s a long walk, and it will be cold and dark when walking back to your vehicle.

• Stay out of burned areas.

And before you make that drive, check Yosemite’s website for the latest road closures. Do it the day before and the day of. Weather changes fast and unexpectedly in these parts.

Show is not guaranteed

Yosemite says the dazzling effect happens only on evenings approaching dusk with a clear sky when the waterfall is flowing. Even some haze or a bit of cloudiness can ruin the effect. Mother Nature makes no promises.

That works both ways, though. Fall is usually dry, and there is usually no waterfall flow at Horsetail. But visitors in October 2021 had a spectacular show after the area got heavy rainfall.

Horsetail Fall is about a one and a half mile walk each way from the closest parking to the viewpoint near the El Capitan Picnic area.

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Top image: “Firefall” is seen at Yosemite National Park on February 23, 2022. (Photo by Liao Pan/China News Service via Getty Images)

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