I got a last minute campsite at Upper Pines for the last weekend in February, which is during the “Firefall”. Kate was out of town so it was a good weekend to get away. I knew the crowds would be bad (which is why I brought my bike to get around) but I definitely was not prepared for how many people and cars actually showed up. It was truly insane. There were so many people that they shut down one of the lanes in the valley to make room for walking pedestrians and closed most parking/pull-outs from Noon-7pm.
In the end, Horsetail Falls didn’t have any water all weekend (no falls) and there were clouds (so no “fire”). Double bust. Lots of disappointed people. But I had a blast biking around the valley, site seeing, and people watching.
I don’t think I will ever go back for a Firefall weekend, just not worth all the people. But it did give me a taste for what Yosemite might be like during the winter. I really want to go back after a fresh snowfall, for some snowshoeing. Maybe one day I will climb half dome with the cables down.