Horsetail is a waterfall of fire . California. USA

Horsetail Falls of Fire, USA.

Yosemite National Park in California has an impressive natural attraction called Horsetail Fall. Behind such an unusual name lies an ordinary seasonal waterfall, which in winter and early spring falls from the eastern side of the El Capitan Mountain range.

The most interesting things begin to happen in these parts at the end of February. For just a few days each year, visitors to the park have the opportunity to witness a rare phenomenon: the transformation of an ordinary waterfall into a fiery waterfall resembling lava erupting from a volcano.

In fact, this natural phenomenon is a visual deception, the secret of which is hidden in the reflection of the rays of the setting sun at a certain angle and under favorable weather conditions. The fiery reflections of the sun in the water streaming down from the mountain create truly apocalyptic scenes. The unusual effect lasts only a few minutes, but travelers and hunters for unique footage regularly gather at Mount El Capitan to see and capture the stunning illusion.

Horse Tail Falls of Fire

The Horsetail Falls are two cascading streams – the east one is 470 meters high and the west one is 480 meters high. Its total height is 630 meters.

Natural phenomenon, often referred to as the “fire waterfall” got its name for a reason – from 1872 to the 1960s, employees of the hotel located at the top of Mount El Capitan regularly put on a night show – they threw from the edge of the cliff red-hot coals, creating an imitation of February blazing effect. The tourists were not told that it was only a mockery. In 1968, the National Park Service banned this attraction for safety reasons.

Horse Tail Falls of Fire

Getting to Horsetail Falls, located in Yosemite National Park in eastern U.S. California, is most convenient by car on Routes 140, 120, or 41. Then follow Northside Drive to the parking lot.

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Horse Tail Falls of Fire

Horse Tail Falls of Fire

Horse Tail Falls of Fire

Horse Tail Falls of Fire

Horse Tail Falls of Fire

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Fire Falls in California – mysticism or reality, interesting facts

In February, tourists come to Yosemite Park (location: USA, California) to admire an unusual natural phenomenon. The rays of the setting sun color one of the waterfalls bright orange. It gives the impression of lava pouring down from the mountain. Because of this feature, Yosemite Cascade was named the “Fiery Falls”.

Fire Falls in the U.S. in numbers

The highest mountain in Yosemite National Park is El Capitan. The stone monolith towers 900 meters above the valley. Horstel Falls (aka Fire Falls) runs down the cliff and is divided into three cascades:

  • The upper part (435 m);
  • the middle (206 m);
  • the lower part (98 m).

Fire Falls in California Panorama

Together they form the third highest waterfall in North America (according to Wikipedia, Horsetail combines the first two parts, while the lowest part is considered a separate site).

Where is it located

You can enter Yosemite American Park from any of the 4 sides of the world. According to tourist reviews, the eastern and southern approaches are the most convenient. In the navigator is better to score the Visitor Center, and then build a route around the park.

There is a bus from San Francisco to Yosemite. Tickets range from $45 to $55. The final destination is the Visitor Center.

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Admission is $15; entry by private car is twice as expensive ($30). A paper Yosemite card is issued at the entrance. In addition to the car, the park can be traversed by foot, free shuttle buses or bicycles.

California Fire Falls are on fire

There are 13 campsites within Yosemite. You need to make reservations in advance. Depending on the amenities offered, the price per night is $12 to $26. Hotel rooms start at $95. In towns nearby you can find a hostel, which will be cheaper

Beautiful photos of the Horsetail Falls are obtained in the central part of the park. A great view of the El Capitan monolith is from the entrance point to the valley, where the Tunnel View is located.

Who Discovered Ponytail

In 1883, a group of climbers was practicing near El Capitan. As they were climbing, one of the hikers noticed a stream rushing from the top of a nearby monolith. This is how the Yosemite Cascade was discovered, named “Horsetail” for its similar shape to that part of a horse.

Horsetail Falls later got the epithet “Fire”. History has not kept the name of the person who first noticed this incredible sight.

Fire Falls in California panorama view

What is interesting for tourists

In the spring, when the snow melts, a violent stream of water rushes from the top of El Capitan and splits into two arms. By summer, Horsetail turns into a thin stream, sometimes completely drying up and returning only after heavy rains.

Horsetail Falls understandably peaks in February. But even without the lava flow, El Capitan is worth seeing. Along the route to the top of the cliff, observation decks are built for tourists. The lower cascade is located in a pine grove and is easily accessible. To get to the upper parts, you will have to walk a mountain trail.

Fire Falls in California aerial view

Why is the waterfall called the “Fiery” waterfall

The bright coloring of the water gave the local hotel staff an idea to attract tourists. Brochures and advertisements announced that the Ponytail Falls were filled with real fire. To add credibility to this miracle, coals were scattered around. The park administration banned such manipulations with burning heads in 1968.

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The myth gradually faded, but the seasonal flow of tourists did not dry up. In the digital age, travel companies use unusual photos and videos to promote Horsthal. In the processed images the waterfall looks more attractive than in reality with embers scattered around.

Fire Falls in California in ferval

Another legend tells of a blacksmith who lived at the top and shod horses. One day a heavy rain washed away the forge together with the master. And now, for several days a year, the waters of Horse Tail turn to molten iron.

There is a scientific explanation for this phenomenon: the stream is located at such an angle to the rays of the setting sun that it reflects only the red and orange spectra of sunlight. The optical illusion turns the water into streams of fire.

Ponytail Falls in California is an example of nature’s amazing creation. A combination of many factors – the angle of the rays at sunset, the location of the water stream, the height of the sun – results in an amazing optical effect that attracts many people.

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