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Each season has its own amazing things to see and explore. Autumn has the beautiful leaf-peeping. Winter has the peaks of the Sierra Mountains covered in alabaster white. Summer provides endless high-country adventures like horseback rides. But spring. Oh spring. It’s the ULTIMATE season for all.

Dual Day Adventures

spring skiing Squaw Valley
Image appears courtesy: Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows

For a person that enjoys spending their time outdoors doing multi-sport activities in wide open spaces filled with fresh air, this is THE time to come visit. Like a food pairing, spring provides you the opportunity to enjoy a dual day experience in the High Sierra without the busy crowds. Hit the ski slopes or go for a shopping stroll through town in the morning. In the afternoon, unwind with stand up paddleboarding or kayak on a clear calm lake. And then finish the day off with s’mores beside a firepit. The options are truly endless. Check out North Lake Tahoe’s amazing spring experiences page to get a taste of the dual day adventures that await you.

Take Life For Granite And Go Climbing Or Skiing

woman bouldering in Bishop California with the high desert behind her
Photo by: Christopher Beauchamp– Image appears courtesy: Bishop Visitor Center

Speaking of dual days, another High Sierra area that’s blessed with spring activities is the Eastern Sierra. The town of Bishop in Owens Valley is surrounded by lofty peaks that reach as high as 14,000 feet. Although it’s a year-round mecca for climbing, spring is when it becomes an even bigger playground for outdoor fun. How so? In winter, many of the backcountry skiing routes such as Mt. Tom have LONG approaches unfeasible for most. As the snow levels slowly creep higher this time of year, roads begin to provide easier access. There’s a chance you could ski powder in the morning and follow it up with rock climbing in a t-shirt and shorts in the afternoon.

Embrace The Sun & Dine Outdoors

Image appears courtesy: Mammoth Mountain Resort

No matter where you are in the Sierra during spring, expect LOTS of sunshine. The higher elevations may reach as high as fifty degrees, but that golden orb will feel much warmer on your skin. This adds dining outside to the already long list of fun things to do in spring in Mammoth. Still too chilly? In the lower elevations, expect it to be MUCH warmer. In fact, in the town of Bishop, you’ll find that you can dine Al Fresco pretty much all year long.

Wildflowers Are Beginning To Bloom

Spring wildflowers in the High Sierra Railtown 1897 State Historic Park
Image appears courtesy: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park – Visit Tuolumne

While the highest peaks are still snow covered, the sleepy blanket of winter has pretty much faded away in the meadows. Early spring is the time of year to head to Wapama Falls in the Hetch Hetchy area. The trail toward this picturesque cascading waterfall is lined with wildflowers at their peak blooms. Or better yet, take a wildflower train ride from Railtown 1897 Historic State Park during the month of April. For more about wildflower hikes, check out our in-depth article – Scenic Wildflower Hiking Opportunities in the California High Sierra or 5 Easy To Spot Flowers In California High Sierra & One Flowering Plant.

I Am Waterfall – Hear Me Roar!

Yosemite Falls National Park
Image appears courtesy: Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau

Another major wonder to see as part of the annual cycle of rebirth is the waterfalls. As the snowpack continues to melt, the cascades grow to their peak volume. In fact, the Sierra Nevada is home to a vast assortment of waterfalls including three of the world’s tallest just in Yosemite alone. The three monoliths are Yosemite Fall, Sentinel Fall, and Horsetail Fall. To read up more about why spring is so majestic in Yosemite, check out Yosemite Mariposa County’s article.

Ma Natural’s Roller Coaster – Whitewater Rafting

That water cascading down the granite faces in the High Sierra also fills up the rivers. As you’d expect, these watery thoroughfares create a fun, frothy, and wild whitewater rafting experience. At peak flow, the mighty Merced which starts in Yosemite runs high and fast featuring class IV rapids. If that sounds a bit scary, the later in the season you go, the less monstrous the features become.

Fields of blue dick and popcorn flowers in Blue Oak Ranch Preserve
Wildflowers in Blue Oak Ranch – Image appears courtesy: Visit Visalia

Further south just outside the gate of Sequoia National Park lives the Kaweah River for outrageous outdoor fun. Here you’ll find some of the finest rafting Central & Southern California has to offer. Don’t forget to set aside some extra time to take a stroll at Homer Ranch or Blue Oak Ranch Preserves to take in the full bloom of wildflowers. These protected areas provides a fine example of what the region looked like nearly two centuries ago.

Summer Crowds Aren’t Here Yet

Bass Lake Live Pines Resort California High Sierra Music
Image Appears Courtesy – Pines Resort Lodge

If you want to see the iconic spots in the High Sierra, this is THE time to visit. Besides the sensory overload of colors from beacon white peaks to emerald green meadows, the crowds are much less, which means you’ll find cheaper lodging and a bit more elbow room. This is also when resorts like Bass Lake re-open for water-based fun. Or for those that need a bit more adrenaline, hop onto a raft for some whitewater fun or drop in on some heart-pounding singletrack on your mountain bike.

Just like the wildlife that is waking up from their winter snooze, this is a great time to get outdoors and experience the High Sierra.

Author: Alex Silgalis

Alex Silgalis is an outdoors travel writer who enjoys snowboarding, mountain biking, or having a cold one from a local mountain brewery. See more of Alex’s work at https://localfreshies.com



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