#LavaLove: Yosemite’s bizarre firefall returns to delight of social media (PHOTOS)
The firefall phenomenon is one of the many wonders found at California’s Sierra Nevada mountain park, occuring only at the end of February - and even then, only if conditions are right.
While it may look like lava cascading down a molten cliffside, the glowing stream is actually more likely to freeze you than turn anything in its path into a smoldering mess.
No that's not lava! That's #HorsetailFalls as it was captured this past Saturday by @_gnarlynick and shared with @yosemitenation This beautiful #natural phenomenon known as the #firefall only occurs for a few weeks in late February. As the #highcountry #snow begins to melt it begins to trickle down next to #ElCapitan and as the #sun sets during this particular time of year, this cascade captures the alpine glow of the #Sierras turning this very seasonal #waterfall into a spectacular site to see! Join us this #Saturday as we'll be staying till #sunset on our #SeasonsofYosemite adventure to see if we can witness this light show ourselves! #VisitSacramento #YosemiteValley #AlopexEcoAdventures #Sacramento to #Yosemite #LetUsDrive
2 weeks every February in Yosemite, the sun sets in just the right spot that, as long as the sky's are clear, Horsetail Fall looks like it's on fire. It's called Firefall and @i_am_george_costanza and I happened to be lucky enough to be there to see it last Saturday. #nofilter #firefall #yosemite #sunsetwaterfall #californialove #sfgiants #california #horsetailfalls
That’s because the firefall is the result of a setting sun reflecting off the park’s Horsetail waterfall and El Capitan rock face.
Due to a lull in rainfall coupled with overcast conditions, the magnificent illusion had been absent in recent years, report CBS Local.
But recent rainfall and melting ice means it is back, and as fiery looking as ever. (Cue an Instagram ‘lava’ love in!)
Once a year during the middle of February for 10 to 14 days if all the stars align and the clouds don't block the sun the reflections off the face of El Capitan @yosemitenps horsetail falls glows a firey red during the last moments before dusk turing into what is known as "fire falls" truly one of the most spectacular things we've seen. There's still time left this year this was 2/16/16 #elcapitan #yosemite #firefalls #shotwithmyphone #thathappened #optoutside #rei1440project #traillife
According to National Park Geek, conditions around the El Capitan cliff waterfall must be “warm enough to produce snowmelt”. The clouds must also be situated in such a way that the sun’s rays hit the surging water at the “right angle”.
Here’s what the rocky fountain usually looks like without the firefall ‘filter’: