Once-in-a-lifetime: Experience Yosemite Firefall in person
Yosemite National Park, CA
(Expected dates mid- to late-Feb.)
This trip is your chance to visit a true wonder of nature. Something that's as close to real life magic as you can get - Yosemite Firefall.
For three days you'll experience first hand one of our nation's most striking national parks. Then, at sunset, we'll find a place away from the crowds and watch as Horsetail Falls appears to catch on fire.
I'll organize and book everything for you, and show you my favorite spots in one of my favorite national parks. Bring your camera too - I want to help you get some unforgettable shots and upgrade your photography skills. I'll show you the best the park has to offer.
It's a sight that only happens at a specific time on a specific day of the year under specific conditions. It is truly breathtaking to experience in person.
$1499 + Cost of your flight to SFO ($350-500 for major US cities)
- Book and manage your flight to SFO (you can book your own, if you prefer)
- 4 nights lodging (double occupancy)
- Transportation during the trip
- Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and water each day
- Park admission
- Guided hikes and drives
- Photography coaching
- 1 pre-trip virtual group session to configure your camera
- 1 post trip virtual group photo editing tutorial on your photos
What's not included:
- Transportation in your home city
- Food and drinks on your flights
- Alcoholic drinks
- Camera and gear (You can rent from me for extra)
What is Firefall?
Every winter, there is a waterfall that runs (but only if there's enough snowfall). For two weeks in February, the angle of the sun lines up juuuuust right so that it backlights only the water at sunset, making it look like it's on fire. If there are clouds, it doesn't happen. If there's too much wind, it doesn't happen. But if conditions are right, hundreds of people in Yosemite Valley will cheer with you.
What Will We Do?
My top priority is to help you see Firefall. I also want to help you to take your photos to the next level. Yosemite is the perfect place to practice and learn.
During the day, I'll show you around either on foot or in the car. We'll be hiking and enjoying the outdoors. I'll also help folks with their photos - settings, composition, scouting, planning for editing, and more.
At night, we'll find some good spots to view the Firefall phenomenon and I'll help you set up your shots. Of course, if you'd rather explore on your own, feel free!
Arrive in the evening to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) for pickup
Check in to 3-star hotel near the airport
Breakfast at Cafe182 or similar
Drive to Yosemite National Park in a 7-person van
Pickup lunch in Mariposa at The Hideout Saloon or similar
Arrive at the park and hike to Lower Yosemite Falls (1-2 miles)
Hike to Firefall viewpoint (2-3 miles)
If weather is clear, we'll eat at Basecamp and stargaze after. If weather doesn't cooperate, we'll eat at Yosemite View Lodge
Stay at Yosemite View Lodge
Sunrise at Tunnel View, one of the most beautiful places in Yosemite
Breakfast at The River Restaurant
Explore the park - hike to Mirror Lake (4-5 miles)
Lunch at Basecamp Eatery
Hike part way up 4-mile trail to a secluded Firefall viewing spot (3-4 miles)
Dinner at Yosemite View Lodge
Stargazing if our first night is cloudy
Breakfast at The River Restaurant
Activities are flexible! We can do something that got rained out, visit the sequoias, drive up to the High Sierras, etc.
Evening viewing of Firefall
Dinner in Mariposa at The Alley Lounge or similar
Drive back to San Francisco
Check into a 3-star hotel near the airport
Bagels & Pastry breakfast
Drop off at San Francisco International Airport
What else do you need to know?
Firefall isn't guaranteed
The park might not have enough water over the winter for Horsetail Falls to run. The clouds could block the sun. Wind could blow the water away and dilute the effect. Luckily, Yosemite is still gorgeous.
How big will the group be?
I have room for 5 other nature enthusiasts, plus myself.
How will we get around?
I’m renting a van (depending on how many people come). It's big enough to hold all our stuff and ourselves. While we’re in Yosemite, it’ll be parked. Getting around will involve walking, since parking does tend to fill up for this event. Yosemite has shuttles, but they may not operate in the winter.
How strenuous is the hiking?
Depending on our daily plans and weather, we could hike up to 10 or 12 miles a day. Most of the valley is flat, but there may be a hike or two that involves a few hundred feet in elevation change and a little bit of scrambling. The elevation in the valley is 4,000 feet above sea level, so acclimating to altitude isn't necessary.
What will the weather be like?
There will probably be snow on the ground. Temperatures will probably be between 30 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and we could see rain, snow, shine, and anything in between.
Do I have to have a nice camera or be a good photographer?
Not at all! All skill levels and cameras are welcome, whether that's a smart phone or DSLR.
What food options are there?
All the restaurants I've picked have gluten free and vegan / vegetarian options. Food in the park is pretty limited. I’ll also have snacks and water for during the day and the car ride.
Can I get a room to myself?
If you'd like a single room, let me know. it will add $300 to the cost of your trip.Can I book my own flight?Yes! If you'd like to book your own flights or find your own way to San Francisco, you can do that yourself. I will give you a time that you need to arrive by, and you are responsible for getting there by that time. If you are late and the group needs to head to the park, I won't be able to refund your trip.
What happens if you need to cancel?
I will be asking everyone to pay in full by Jan 15. If you need to cancel after that, I'll refund 50% of the cost of your entire trip.
If you cancel before Jan. 15, I will return your deposit if I can fill your spot on the trip.