Yosemite’s ‘Firefall’ and Other Waterfalls Worth a Visit This Year

Feb 15, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

It’s back. From now until now through Feb. 24, you can spot the “Firefall” at Yosemite Park.

It’s sort of what it sounds like. While not a waterfall made of actual fire (though we admit, that would be pretty cool) the “Firefall” is a temporary effect that occurs to the water at Horsetail Falls in early spring. Located on the eastern edge of El Capitan, the Firefall illusion occurs at sunset when the light reflects on the water causing it to take on an orange, flame-like glow. The illusion is said to peak next week,  according to Yosemite National Park spokesperson Jamie Richards. That is if the sky remains clear.

Michael Castaneda/Getty Images
Michael Castaneda/Getty Images

This year park officials have decided to keep Firefall viewing open to the public, so just about anyone can stop by the park and view the natural phenomenon for themselves. However, if you’re not one for hikes, be prepared to squint. The nearest parking options are at least a mile away from viewpoints.

If you now find yourself itching to visit a waterfall, here are some other options (not Niagara or Victoria) with a little extra, special something:

Svartifoss (Black Falls)

Getty/Manuel ROMARIS
Getty/Manuel ROMARIS

Located in Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park in Iceland, one if its most distinctive features is perhaps the dark lava columns that surround the cascade. If the peculiar, hexagonal shapes of the columns strike you as familiar, you might have seen the otherwise rare formations at Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland or by Devil’s Tower in Wyoming.

Havasupi and Mooney Falls


Part of what makes this waterfall so unique is it red rock, Grand Canyon backdrop. Other photos depicting the falls show tiers of blue, travertine pools beneath the falls that visitors can swim in. The pools usually stay at a median temperature of 70 degrees, however, if that’s not your style, watching the falls from behind in a cave is also a pretty stellar option.

Multnomah Falls

Pete Saloutos/Getty Images
Pete Saloutos/Getty Images

Multnomah offers an interesting twist on getting up close and personal with waterfalls: a manmade bridge. The second most visited natural recreation site in the Pacific Northwest, this not-so-little-known spot is set in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon. And, aside from being a stunning sight, it’s also ADA accessible.

Sunwapta Falls

laurenepbath/Getty Images
lauren epbath/Getty Images
What’s better than one waterfall? Two. This pair of waterfalls can be found at Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada. Famously powerful (Sunwapta actually translates to “turbulent water” in Stoney language), the falls consist of upper and lower waterfalls that coverage over rocky cliffs. The water also originates from the Athabasca Glacier, giving a naturally blue hue.

Tukad Cepung

jokoleo/Getty Images
jokoleo/Getty Images

Wedged between two rocks, the Tukad Cepung waterfall just might be the most Instagrammable sight on this list. Located just outside of Ubud, Bali, and fairly easy to access, the best time to visit these falls are early in the morning to catch a glimpse of the rising sun peaking between the rocks and falls.

Ban Gioc–Detian Falls

Westend61/Getty Images
Westend61/Getty Images

Sat right on the Vietnam/China line, the Ban Gioc-Detian Falls and is currently the fourth largest waterfall along a national border after bigwigs such as Iguazu, Victoria and Niagara Falls. Like Sunwapta, Ban Gioc-Detian is also a package deal with tiers of cascading falls.

In order to visit these falls, you must acquire a police permit, which can be purchased at a station beside the waterfall. After that, you’re all clear to enjoy the view of tumbling waters and the signature three-tiered cliff.

Featured image by Steve Whiston – Fallen Log Photography via Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.