April Active/Adventure Travel Guide

Sea Kayaking
PADDLE-PERFECT PARADISE: Kayak your way into the New Zealand autumn (courtesy, New Zealand Tourism)

Ski and Snowboard Mammoth Mountain, CA
April could almost be called mid-season at California's Mammoth Mountain, where the snowpack is measured in feet and often lingers until June. This month also marks Mammoth’s Spring Fest, a celebration of the season and the unique beauty of corn snow with deals and specials. After skiing Mammoth's signature wide-open peak, rife with double-black-diamond trails, and its new rails and pipes, think about skipping the hot tub and head two miles south of town to the natural hot springs.

Road Bike in the Louisiana Purchase Territory
Before bug season there's bike season in Louisiana, which falls around April, when temps average in the 60s. Start pedaling in Natchitoches, the Louisiana Purchase's oldest permanent settlement, and spin through plantation country. Between Natchitoches and New Orleans, there are 390 miles of back roads that lead past Creole-style plantations, bayous once used as byways, ancient Native American villages, and plenty of down-home Cajun food.

Mountain Bike in Fruita, CO
Thank Fruita's warm, arid climate for the fact that come April, trails are already mud-free and the weather's balmy. The Fruita Fat Tire Festival, held at the end of the month, is the unofficial kick-off to bike season and involves races, group rides, and, naturally, plenty of ale. Fruita is known for its slim, fast singletrack; stop by Over the Edge Sports, the de facto biking hub, to rent wheels and gather beta, then start by exploring Kokopelli’s Trail area, which features 40-plus miles of classic Fruita singletrack.

Climb at Red Rocks, NV
Nevada's Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is as chock full of outdoor sports as Las Vegas’ strip, 17 miles east, is crammed with bling. Beyond the horseback riding, hiking, and biking, Red Rocks is most famous for its diversity of rock climbs: The crimson Navajo sandstone has been etched with routes ranging from 5.0 to 5.14, from one pitch to multi-day epics. Go in April, which brings comfortably warm days and cool nights. (And don't forget the sequins.)

Taste Wines and Road Bike on Long Island, NY
Spring weather is always fickle in the northeast, but one of your best bets in April is New York. Long Island may only be a short jaunt from the concrete cityscapes of Manhattan, but because of its soils and maritime climate, it has an increasingly well reputed wine country. Hop between some of the thirty-plus wineries that have opened in the last thirty years, while making your way to Greenport. There, rent a bike and cruise northeast along the coast to Orient Point.

Ski the Backcountry in Alberta, Canada
Leave it to the Canadians to think that building huts in the middle of icefields is a good idea. Now we can reap the benefits of their forward thinking: A series of huts connects the sprawling, white wilderness of the Wapta Icefields in Banff National Park. In April, avalanche danger is minimal, there’s an excellent chance of sunshine, and if there isn't powder, you’ll find pure corn snow on the peaks and gentle slopes between huts. Canmore-based Yamnuska Adventures runs beginner ski-mountaineering courses, backcountry tours, and hut-to-hut trips.

Explore the Rio Plátana Biosphere Reserve, Honduras
March and April bring clear skies and nesting loggerhead and leatherback turtles to the Rio Plátana Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site on Honduras’ remote Caribbean coast and the largest tract of pristine rainforest north of the Amazon. See it by visiting the six indigenous communities that formed La Ruta Moskitia, a guided route linking community-run lodges, in 2006. Locals lead visitors in a motorized dugout canoe between villages, where they can choose between activities like kayaking to see macaws or hiking past ancient rock art and howler monkeys to distant lagoons.

Hike and Bike Copper Canyon, Mexico
The arid, northwestern area of Mexico, home of Copper Canyon, is a far cry from the beaches and resorts of the coast, but it is no less stunning. Some 20 chasms, reaching as high as 10,000 feet, form the canyon’s mazes. Fly into Chihuahua and hop Copper Canyon’s train to the town of Creel, a mountain-biking hub for a day or two of riding. Arguably the best scenery on the train line lies between Creel and El Fuerte; stop at some of the half-dozen tiny towns along the tracks for small-town charms, churches, and trails leading into the hills.

Kayak the Tutukaka Coast, North Island, New Zealand
By the time we northern-hempishere dwellers have had it with cold weather, the southern hempisphere's avatar of adventure, New Zealand, is entering autumn. The subtropical waters on the North Island's Tutukaka Coast, however, stay comfortable well into the fall. Explore them by kayak, ducking into mangroves and serene harbors, zipping around volcanic-rock formations, lounging on white-sand beaches, and jumping ship for a snorkel excursion or two.

Snorkel and Whale-Watch in Dominica
April marks the end of the Caribbean's high season—and a prime time for great deals. You'd be hard pressed to ever empty your pockets on the tiny, often overlooked isle of Dominica. The island was once a haven for escaped slaves and still has a wild, undiscovered feel. Snorkel through waters filled with tiny bubbles streaming from volcanic fissures; watch sperm whales, which reside off Dominica's shores all year; then hike through rainforest to waterfalls and backcountry hot springs.

Published: 16 Mar 2007 | Last Updated: 22 Aug 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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