For many hikers, spring shoulder season- - when daylight outpaces nighttime and the snowpack starts to melt -- calls to mind swarms of merciless biting insects and ankle-deep mud wallows. But spring has plenty more going for it. Wildflowers explode across the mountains and deserts in bright rainbow colors; wildlife becomes more active, waking from hibernation or returning from far-away migrations; and your fellow outdoorsmen--mountain bikers, horseback riders and the like--haven't yet hit the trails, leaving you alone to enjoy the solitude of deep wilderness.
We know it's not quite spring yet, but with less than a month to go, we're really not jumping the gun. In fact, on some of these very doable day hikes in the warmer climes--California, Texas and Arizona, in particular -- it's here already. Time to lace 'em up!
- Megan Taylor Morrison, The Active Times