Horsetail Fall

Yosemite, California

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Site of Yosemite’s famous February firefall, Horsetail Fall is an ephemeral drop off El Capitan that lights up with setting sun in late winter. You’ll have to time this just right: Not only is Yosemite’s Horsetail Fall short-lived, but the window for viewing the spectacle of firefall is even shorter. For a few weeks in February, conditions permitting, this narrow fall catches the light of the setting sun just right and lights up. It has been described by witnesses (myself not among them yet) as like a flow of lava down the east face of El Capitan. The fall cannot be approached via trail, but can be viewed from the El Capitan picnic area on the valley floor, west of Yosemite Lodge, or from points along Northside Drive.
Hiking Waterfalls in Northern California

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Hiking Waterfalls in Northern California

by Tracy Salcedo-Chourré (Falcon Guides)

Site of Yosemite’s famous February firefall, Horsetail Fall is an ephemeral drop off El Capitan that lights up with setting sun in late winter. You’ll have to time this just right: Not only is Yosemite’s Horsetail Fall short-lived, but the window for viewing the spectacle of firefall is even shorter.

For a few weeks in February, conditions permitting, this narrow fall catches the light of the setting sun just right and lights up. It has been described by witnesses (myself not among them yet) as like a flow of lava down the east face of El Capitan. The fall cannot be approached via trail, but can be viewed from the El Capitan picnic area on the valley floor, west of Yosemite Lodge, or from points along Northside Drive.

© 2015 Tracy Salcedo-Chourré/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Yosemite
Distance: 3.3
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: 3-4 hours
Season: Year-round
Features: Waterfalls
Local Contacts: Yosemite National Park, Public Information Office, PO Box 577, Yosemite, CA 95389; (209) 372-0200 (dial ext. 3, then 5); www.nps.gov/yose. The website is extensive and should be every visitor’s first stop for information on the park.
Local Maps: USGS Half Dome CA; park map available online and at park entrances. No map is needed.
Driving Directions: Directions to Horsetail Fall

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Apr 2018