Horsetail Falls on the eastern side El Capitan in Yosemite National Park is a ephemeral waterfall (meaning it is seasonal). It flows only during the peak of a spring runoff. The spring runoff is early February to early March. It is at its peak during the second and third week in the month of February each year.
This is one of the Yosemite waterfalls that attracts many photographers at sunset.
You only have two minutes at sunset to photograph this waterfall looking like molten lava.
The rays of the sunset reflect off of granite mountain behind the waterfall and make it appear to be a waterfall on fire. Depending on the sunset, the waterfall will take on the colors of reds, yellows, gold or orange. The more water is flowing, the better the effect that Horsetail Falls looks like fire. Sometimes it is even referred to as a natural firefall.
The El Capitan picnic area is good place to view and photograph this waterfall. The fall is on the east side of El Capitan. But be forewarned that the area is crowed the second and third week of February. (It brings out many photographers!)
Ansel Adams called this the El Capitan Fall. A seasonal waterfall that spills off of the top of El Capitan. There has to be a good amount of snow in December and January for this waterfall to occur. If there is a dry winter, there is no waterfall.
El Capitan is so large that on a good year, there is a waterfall on the west side as well as the east side. When the water falls on the east side, it creates a waterfall that is 1,540 feet tall. When the water falls on the west side (this one, Horsetail), it creates a fall that is 1,570 feet high. Making this the tallest waterfall in all of Yosemite National Park.
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