Want to see the beautiful Yosemite Firefall? There are some new rules you should know

Firefall at Yosemite National Park
(Image credit: Getty)

If you're planning to head to Yosemite National Park to see the Firefall next year, you'll need to make a reservation in advance to secure your spot. The stunning event has become so popular, the National Park Service (NPS) has decided to implement new rules to help control visitor numbers.

The Firefall is a phenomenon that typically happens in about the second week of February, when Horsetail Fall (a small waterfall that cascades over the Western edge of El Capitan) is backlit by the sunset. The orange glow resembles red hot lava pouring down the mountain, and is one of highlights of a visit early in the year.

It's become so popular, in fact, that the NPS has decided to start a reservation system next year.

"The surge in visitation has led to full parking lots, parking overflowing into traffic lanes, pedestrian-vehicle conflicts causing safety issues, and damage to natural and cultural resources," explained the NPS in a Facebook post.

How to make a reservation

Reservations will be required to drive into the park on the weekends of 10-12, 17-19, and 24-26 February (but not if you arrive between Monday and Thursday). The entrance fee of $35 per car is valid for seven days, no matter which day you arrived. Reservations will go on sale at Recreation.gov on January 13 at 8am PST.

Even if the Firefall isn't on your itinerary, you'll still need to book in order to enter the park during the last three weekends of February. "We couldn't find a workable way to have the reservation requirement be more limited to Yosemite Valley (or a portion of it)," the NPS explained in a comment on its original post.

Want some more ideas and inspiration for your visit? Our list of 15 amazing Yosemite National Park facts should get you started.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.