3. Best wildflowers: Hite’s Cove Trail
From March to May, the first two miles of this 4.5-mile trail explode with flowers. While Yosemite’s higher elevations are still buried under feet of snow, you’ll cruise through fiery California poppy, aptly named alpine gold, alpine lily, and 10 more flower species. Explore the abandoned mining settlement at the end, then turn back at the Merced River.
4. Dayhike: Charleston Peak
Summit this 11,918-foot pyramid via the 8.3-mile (one way) South Loop Trail, an hour from the strip. 5. Wildlife: Año Nuevo State Natural Reserve
The world’s largest colony of elephant seals winters on the sandy beaches here. Hike three miles to the dunes to see the beasts lounging. Best viewing: April, in the early morning.