It looks like molten lava!
Though this happens only once a year, this natural ‘firefall’ is one of Yosemite National Park’s most amazing spectacles.
At first glance, you’d think that molten lava is actually flowing from the mountains, but it is just water. What makes the glowing reddish-orange water so beautiful is simply an optical illusion.
Around the second week of February, the setting sun hits Horsetail Fall at just the right angle to illuminate the upper reaches of the waterfall. And when conditions are perfect, Horsetail Fall glows orange and red at sunset.
If you want to capture the yearly spectacle, the park’s website suggests the best view is from the park’s El Capitan picnic area. Make sure you get there early, before the park gets crowded. They also suggest that visitors bring food, water, a change of clothes and tire chains, because of the weather conditions.
But if conditions are not perfect, the Yosemite Firefall will not glow. First off, the Horsetail Fall must be flowing. There’s not enough snowpack in February, there will not be enough snowmelt to feed the waterfall.
The sky must also be clear, for the sun’s rays to reach the waters. If it’s cloudy the sun’s rays will be blocked and Horsetail Falls will not light up.