For a few weeks in February, California’s Yosemite National Park is home to hundreds of visitors who want to be amazed, not just by the park’s natural beauty but also by one wow-worthy illusion. Horsetail Fall (one of many waterfalls in Yosemite that flow only in the late winter and early spring) is special because it turns into a “firefall” when the conditions are just right.
If you’re lucky, you get to experience the one-of-a-kind moment that usually lasts for about 10 minutes. Here’s how it works: The setting sun hits Horsetail Fall at just the right angle to create the illusion of lava flowing over the cliff instead of water. Sounds like something to cross off your bucket list, right? That’s exactly what photographer Ray Lee did in 2016. He told Yahoo, “To my surprise, it was better than I have ever imagined. I was pretty much speechless and mesmerized to have seen it in person.”
Lee hopes to see it again very soon, but he may have to wait until next year. According to the park’s Twitter account, “Horsetail Fall remains dry, with no precipitation in the forecast.” (Bummer!) Those who are taking their chances will have to plan ahead. For the first time, parking permits are being issued in the viewing area to cut down on traffic jams.