If you have some time off In February and are considering a trip to one of the United States national parks then read on, dear traveler. You have the chance to see not only a natural wonder but a rare, spectacular one to boot! So pack your bags for a trip to Yosemite National Park.
Yosemite National Park
Located in Central California, Yosemite National Park is reported to be one of the official top 10 “most-visited” United States national parks. This park is visited by over 4 million visitors every year. Many of the people who travel here consider this place to be one of their must-see bucket list destinations.
Yosemite stretches across 1,100+ square miles. If you are a nature enthusiast or into hiking then this place is especially for you. For those who like an adventure in the great outdoors, the park is perfect for a long weekend getaway or even a longer vacation.
Some of the park’s most-visited tourist attractions include Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, Mariposa and the impressive, towering sequoia trees of Mariposa Grove. There is also the popular El Capitan, an impressive rock formation that draws numerous rock climbers from across the globe who hope to conquer its stunningly sheer drop. Don’t forget Horsetail Fall which flows powerfully over El Capitan’s eastern edge.
Indeed, this popular sight is 1,000 feet high. The best time to visit is during the winter months when it is actually flowing. Mind you, when compared to some of the park’s more incredible waterfalls, it is perhaps almost inconspicuous.
Well, OK, most of the time it’s comparatively inconspicuous. However, in the last two weeks of February Horsetail Fall goes from inconspicuous to incredible. For it is then that those in the know descend on the fall in droves to bear witness to a remarkable phenomenon.
It is then and only then that you will bear witness to the fall catching fire at sunset. Some travel experts consider it to be perhaps one of the strangest natural wonders in the world. This only happens at one time of the year when the specific angle of the setting sun lights up the water from behind thereby creating a stunning firefall effect.
The water appears to cascade down thunderously like a lava flow. The fall takes on a fiery orange, red, and yellow glow. Veteran visitors describe it as “nothing short of breathtaking.”
The experience is something akin to actually seeing the northern lights. All the conditions have to be “just right” in order to actually see this natural phenomenon. It only occurs on a clear evening.
According to the official National Park Service website: “Even some haze or minor cloudiness can greatly diminish or eliminate the effect.” The crowds of people who gather at the famous El Capitan to see this stunning firefall are so large that the National Park Service has established specific daily restrictions on seeing Horsetail Fall. These restrictions include limits on pedestrian traffic and lane closures. Don’t forget your camera!