Photographers Flock to Yosemite to Find an Underwhelming ‘Firefall’

Flickr/Wayne Hsieh

Some people have been waiting a year to travel to Yosemite National Park to photograph the famed “Firefall” at Horestail Fall, but with little water flowing off the waterfall, the experience is underwhelming this year. That hasn’t stopped photographers from heading to the area, and they’ve still been able to capture some beautiful photos.

Horsetail Fall is typically not that unique in Yosemite, but when the water flows are strong and the lighting is right, this waterfall lights up and appears to be on fire. This phenomenon usually appears for about two weeks near the end of February and can cause quite the tourist attraction for people looking for a rare view.

With reservations near the Firefall becoming difficult over recent years, some people had planned their trips up to a year in advance and still made the trek to see the area lit up with sunlight.

“I figured that people driving by would think I was stupid, since there was no waterfall,” wrote photographer Lori Eckhar (@eckhart3235) on Instagram. “But after hiking over a mile to the spot, I was surprised to see a ton of other tripods there. It’s not as dramatic without the water, but the spot still lit up red.”

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Well, I went to Yosemite this week to capture the famous Horsetail ‘fire’ Falls. I had made my reservations a year ago. But as you all know, there’s no water, so no phenomena. But, I still wanted to take photos of ‘the place’ it happens. I figured that people driving by would think I was stupid, since there was no waterfall. But after hiking over a mile to the spot, I was surprised to see a ton of other tripods there. It’s not as dramatic without the water, but the spot still lit up red. I took this photo Monday, Feb. 17, 2020. #yosemite #horsetailfalls #horsetailfirefalls #firefall #elcapitan #yosemitenationalpark #yosemitevalley #sunset #findyourpark #usinterior #todayscalifornia #activenorcal #visitcalifornia #nikon #visityosemite #getoutside #throughmylens #maybenextyear #nationalparks #california #southbysouthwest

A post shared by Lori Eckhart (@eckhart3235) on

The scene in Yosemite was underwhelming especially compared to 2019, which saw huge rain and snowfall in the area and the waterfall lit up to a robust natural phenomenon:

While the lack of water at Yosemite’s famed waterfall is certainly disappointing for the thousands of visitors planning to see it this year, there’s still a beautiful scene at the waterless Horsetail Fall. Here are some of the best photos this year:

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