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  • Road Closures Due to El Portal Fire

    The Big Oak Flat Road between Crane Flat and the El Portal Road is temporarily closed. There is no access to Yosemite Valley via the Big Oak Flat Road or Highway 120. Tioga Road is open and accessible via Big Oak Flat and Tioga Pass Entrances. More »

  • Campground Closures Due to Fire

    Crane Flat, Bridalveil Creek, and Yosemite Creek Campgrounds are temporarily closed. More »

  • Yosemite National Park is Open

    Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, and Wawona/Mariposa Grove areas are open and accessible via Highways 140 and 41. Tioga Road is not accessible via Highways 140 and 41 due to a fire.

Horsetail Fall

February 22, 2013 Posted by: BW - Volunteer Interpreter

Photographers flock to Yosemite year round, but there is a special reason they were here this week. There is a small, ephemeral water fall that puts on quite a show in mid- to late-February. Horsetail Fall, on the east shoulder of El Capitan, is a great example of the amazing natural phenomena that exist in Yosemite. A perfect combination of water, rock, and light, the fall glows bright orange at sunset when the conditions are right. Those conditions occur for only a small window when the angle of the sun is right, there is enough water in the fall, and we have clear skies at sunset. Some years the phenomenon only happens on one or two days! Unfortunately, climate change is likely to make this special sight even rarer. Warmer temperatures will reduce the amount of snow that is collected in the very small watershed that feeds Horsetail Fall. This means less water to light up the hearts and camera lenses of viewers here in Yosemite Valley.

 Horsetail Fall glows as the sun sets on a clear evening at the end of February.
Horsetail Fall glows on a clear evening as the sun sets towards the end of February.

Yosemite Valley, BW

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Did You Know?

Merced River in Yosemite Valley

The Merced River was designated a National Wild and Scenic River in 1987. Eighty-one miles of river runs through Yosemite National Park, including a stretch in Yosemite Valley.