While the high country is still snowcapped, in the valley, spring is calving season for Yellowstone's bison, elk, deer and moose. Winter has culled the herd and weakened the oldest animals, which means that May is a good month for spotting wolves and bears. The best place to wildlife-watch is the Lamar Valley, in the northeastern corner of the park. For a deeper look, take a class with the Yellowstone Association Institute. For overnight stays, it's difficult to find a more perfect national park lodge than the Old Faithful Inn, which generally opens in mid-May. — Photo by Ocean/Corbis
Believe it or not, while spring is almost at an end, many of the West's national parks remain snow-covered until July. So why not explore some of the Southwest's desert parks before the heat and the crowds arrive? Now is also a good time to head to Yellowstone for an early view of the wildlife. If you plan to visit national parks in the spring, here are seven great ones to explore.