Yosemite Park's mesmerizing 'firefall' phenomenon
Posted on 19/02/2016

NatureUnited States of America

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The natural firefall is one of Yosemite's most amazing spectacles. If the conditions are right, the setting sun hits Horsetail Fall at just the right angle to illuminate its upper reaches, making it glow a fiery orange and red.

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  • The illusion looks like a lava flow
    The illusion looks like a lava flow

For a couple of weeks at the start of February, hundreds of nature photographers and instagrammers alike gather to snap the perfect photo of Horsetail Fall. They're all after a glimpse of the 'firefall', a spectacular natural phenomenon which turns the falls into what looks like lava.

In fact, it's no such thing. People call it the 'firefall' precisely because of the glowing lava-like affect it gives off when the sun catches the water at the right angle.

If you want to capture the red and orange glow, many suggest that the best place to stand is at the El Capitan picnic area of the park, in central California near the border with Nevada.

The effect varies from year to year and is dependent on various factors, such as the amount of water flowing over the Horsetail Fall and clearness of the sky. If you are lucky enough to be there at the right time, prepare to be truly mesmerized.

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