YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. - If you love nature and being outdoors, you may want to travel to Yosemite National Park in California by the end of February to try and catch a glimpse of the mesmerizing "Firefall."
Hundreds of people flock to Yosemite Valley every year, hoping to see a sun-fueled "fire" in the sky at Horsetail Fall, a seasonal waterfall that drops more than 2,000 feet down the eastern side of El Capitan during the winter and spring months.
Horsetail Fall is fed through snowmelt and run-off, so it dries up during the summer and disappears.
How does 'Firefall' occur?
"Firefall" occurs when the sun is setting as beams of sunlight shine down on Horsetail Fall at a particular angle. As it does, the water shines bright and looks like a river of molten lava from a volcano flowing off the mountain.
However, conditions must be perfect in order for everything to come together.
First, there needs to be enough water at Horsetail Fall. The sun needs to be shining during the day, so snow can melt and feed the river. It also can't be too cold as the sun is setting. Otherwise, the river will freeze and stop flowing.
Conditions also need to be clear for the sun to shine on the mountain.
When and how to see ‘Firefall’ at Yosemite National Park in 2024
According to the Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau, you have from about mid-February to the end of February to try and see "Firefall."
And while the event occurs about 5 to 15 minutes before sunset, you'll want to plan on arriving several hours beforehand to try and claim the perfect spot to see the natural wonder.
The tourism bureau suggests people arrive in the late morning or early afternoon to secure parking and walk to a place where you can see "Firefall."
YOSEMITE, CA - FEBRUARY 23: 'Firefall' is seen at Yosemite National Park on February 23, 2022 in Yosemite, California. (Photo by Liao Pan/China News Service via Getty Images)
The National Park Service says a reservation will be required to drive into Yosemite National Park 24 hours a day on Saturdays, Sundays and on Washington's Birthday from Feb. 10 through Feb. 25, even if you aren't interested in seeing "Firefall."
The NPS said visitors arriving at the park Mondays through Fridays won't need a reservation.
Since you'll likely be at the national park for several hours, you'll want to take a few supplies with you.
First, the tourism bureau suggests a flashlight or headlamp. Also, you'll want to make sure you have a pair of warm boots or other footwear that's comfortable to walk in. Try and bring a foldable chair or insulated pad to stand or sit on, and bring some food and water.
It's also important to bring hats, gloves, jackets and anything else to keep you warm. Even if temperatures are mild during the day, it will be a different story when the sun sets and temperatures drop.