Horsetail Fall, the waterfall that changes colours


The Yosemite Falls are the tallest in America and located in Yosemite National Park in Sierra Nevada, California. The height of the largest waterfall seems to reach 739 meters and holds the 6th place in the world. In the Yosemite National Park , which its foundation date is in the 1890’s, takes place a spectacular natural phenomenon. The waterfall that flows on the eastern edge of El Capitan, aka “fire waterfall” or better known as Horsetail, seems to have gained popularity as more and more people have noticed that the color changes under specific conditions. Which are these though?

Horsetail waterfall
Horsetail fall

Shortly after dusk…

Every year there’s an increasing number of photographers who hope that the moment will come when the sun and the earth will align to create this fascinating phenomenon.  The clear sky, the appropriate light and the appropriate amount of water is up to the nature. This miracle can be seen in mid-February at dusk and lasts just two minutes. The setting sun illuminates the waterfall so accurately that it makes it look like lava is flowing onto the granite surface of the imposing El Capitan.

Taking a picture of this waterfall is said to be a lesson in astronomy, physics and geometry. Photographers look for that angle to capture a spectacular photo, similar to that captured by the known photographer Galen Rowell in 1973. In order to get one shot with success, all you needed is luck, timing and a little help of the nature.

Horsetail waterfall
Horsetail fall

The breathtaking scene

Photographers and visitors share their experiences during their visit to Yosemite so we can imagine what it is like through their testimonials: “You sit here and watch this gray, silver water which turns to pink and then more and more red. It’s hard for someone to return home with photos that he did not like. Everything is wonderful in this place. The way you breathe, the sunset, the sunrise, the valley… The scene is breathtaking. There’s always one more picture, one more experience in the exact same spot. Nature continues to offer you ceaselessly one gift after the other.”

Horsetail Fall
Horsetail Fall

By +Nikos Kontorigas


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here