One of the most spectacular natural phenomenons to photograph, this year’s Horsetail Fall “firefall” event at Yosemite National Park is host of a new pilot program that will require one of a limited number of permits in order to access closed roads leading to the best vantage points.
The National Park Service said that the reason for the pilot program is to “reduce traffic congestion and improve safety for pedestrians and motorists.” In the previous couple of years, they state that over 1,000 automobiles traveled Northside Drive in western Yosemite Valley during the natural phenomenon event.
This year, Yosemite’s firefall event is officially taking place in the park February 12–26. Yosemite is taking 250 permit reservations for each day of the event and can be booked online. Reservations for the parking permits went live today, and as of this writing, four of the event days have been completely booked so far. On each day during the firefall event, 50 permits will be available on-location at the park in the Ansel Adams Gallery on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 9 a.m.
[Update 2/6/18: All parking reservations have been taken. The 50 day-of permits are the last chance option at this time.]
Photo by Dzung Tran.
The natural firefall effect occurs from mid to late February every year during sunset, weather permitting. Factors that come into play include having enough water flow coming off the waterfall for the orange glow, atmospheric haze, and cloud cover. There’s no guarantee of coming home with an outstanding firefall image even if you manage your way to one of the viewing areas at the right time.
For more information, visit the Horsetail Fall page on the Yosemite website.
Lead image by Jay Huang.