The Sierra Nevada embraces all four seasons – deeply. Each month of the calendar provides unique things to see and do that aren’t available any other time of year. Autumn? It’s all about the leaf peeping. Winter? Enjoy playing in the snow from schussing down the slopes to snowshoeing. Spring? Wildflowers are in full bloom. Summer? It’s time to venture up high and go peak bagging. For those looking for quintessential High Sierra experiences you can enjoy nearly ANY time of year, here’s four you should put on your radar.
Lake Tahoe is one of the only alpine lakes in the world that doesn’t freeze during winter. What that means is winter, spring, summer, or fall you can get off the land and experience big blue. One of the most quintessential attractions is to do it via the M.S. Dixie II. Departing from Zephyr Cove, the trusty paddleboat makes its way past Emerald Bay, Fannette Island, and Vikingsholm Castle. All the while, you’ll be surrounded by the Sierra Nevada range. Be sure to bring your best camera.
When it comes to waterfalls, Yosemite National Park stands head and shoulders above everyone else, literally. While spring is the best time to see waterfalls as the snowmelt occurs, there are quite a few you can enjoy all year long such as, Nevada Fall, Vernal Fall, and of course Bridalveil Fall. In the spring, the volume of the Bridal Veil Fall cascades is thunderous. During the rest of the year, it sways and flows, sparkling in the sunlight. This is often the 1st waterfall visitors see when entering Yosemite Valley.
There are certain places in the world that inspire and evoke a sense of awe. One of those is the Calaveras Big Trees State Park. It’s the place where the the first Sierra redwood was noted by a man named Augustus T. Dowd in 1852. Walking amongst the groves of giant sequoias, it feels like a spiritual place. Their massive tree trunks are like gothic columns. The canopy of branches up above sporadically let light onto the forest floor as if they’re stained glass windows. As you walk away, you’ll realize this is more than just a forest… it is Mother Nature’s cathedral.
There’s A LOT of places around the world to visit and experience hot springs, but few that offer views alongside them like the Eastern Sierra. If that wasn’t enough, compared to other hot springs destinations, the high desert climate provides cool evenings making a hot spring the perfect nightly activity. From amenity-free to luxurious, you’ll find the pool that fits your needs.
No matter when you visit, these four quintessential High Sierra experiences provide just a taste of what is here. As John Muir eloquently said, “The mountains are calling and I must go.”