Glow with the flow: The amazing 2,000ft natural 'firefall' that brightens up Yosemite National Park

You would be forgiven for thinking these incredible images show lava cascading down the side of a volcano.

Instead, they show a 'firefall', one of nature's rarest phenomena.

Due to a trick of the light, the orange liquid in the photos is actually water pouring over the side of the 2,000ft-high Horsetail Falls in Yosemite National Park, California.

For only a few days each year - normally around February - the elements are perfect for the last of the day's sun rays to strike the waterfall, creating a magical luminance.

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Unique natural phenomenon: For a few days each year a 'firefall' takes place over the 2,000ft-high Horsetail Falls in California's Yosemite National Park

The national park, which spans over 3,000km, attracts over 3.5million visitors a year - and this is one of the highlights.

At about 5.30pm local time, when the sun begins to set, the shadows lengthen, and the rays hit the top of the rock face, a miraculous transformation takes place.

It is then that the beautiful natural illumination is created.

Josh Anon, from San Francisco, managed to be in the right place at the perfect time during a particularly clear sunset.

He took these inspirational photographs upwards from the valley floor.

The 28-year-old said: 'If there's enough water and if the sky's clear enough to get a sunset, the setting sun will be at an angle to the falls and this causes it to glow.

'It's rare to get such great conditions - a lot of water and decent sky.

'It's pretty wild to see because, at first, you can barely make out the waterfall. As the sun starts to set, it glows yellow a bit and then, all of a sudden, it lights up and looks like lava.

'A lot of people ask me if it really is lava pouring from the top of the rock face. Some even ask if it's fake but I assure you it's water and it is completely real.' 

For only a few days each year - normally around February - the elements are perfect for the last of the day's sun rays to strike the waterfall

The Horsetail Falls, a waterfall in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, is found to the west of Lake Tahoe in the Desolation Wilderness of El Dorado County.

Ovre 2,000ft high in all, its water falls in stages for nearly 500ft and can be reached by hiking north out of the Twin Bridges trailhead on U.S. Route 50.

Ironically Horsetail Falls was a real firefall in the 1870s when a hotel proprietor began a night time show for visitors by pushing bark embers over the nearby Glacier Point Cliff, creating a waterfall of fire and sparks.

Footage of the famous firefall was used in the 1950s film The Caine Mutiny, before the park banned the man-made attraction in 1968.

Yosemite National Park spans over 3,000km and attracts 3.5million visitors a year

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