As the weather warms up, it's more important than ever to practice safe hiking in Arizona! More than 200 hikers are rescued every year in Phoenix alone. To keep you and your group safe, and emergency responders where they're needed most, check out the hiking safety tips below! For more information, check out this guide to safe hiking from the city of Phoenix Parks and Recreation.
Drink plenty of water during your hike, and make sure you have more than enough. Even if the weather is cooler, you need to stay hydrated during your hike. Turn back before you get halfway through your water supply. Snacks help too and make sure you don't hike beyond your ability. Know yourself and pay attention to what your body is telling you! According to REI, you should drink half a liter to a full liter or more every hour, depending on the weather and level of exercise. Read more hydration tips.
Hiking is better with a group! Besides having company, friends can help check up on each other, make informed decisions, and call for help if needed. If you do decide to hike solo, carry a cell phone and let someone know where you're going and how long you plan to be gone.
Check the weather and dress appropriately! Arizona's dry heat can sneak up on you, so wear a hat, sunscreen, and appropriate clothing (light-colored, moisture-wicking and breathable is best!). Check the weather, and hike in the early morning or late evening when the sun doesn't blaze quite as hot. Check the trail conditions so you know what you're getting into before you go.
Make sure you keep six feet of distance between you and other hikers, and announce your presence when you approach. Step off the trail for a moment to let someone pass if necessary. If you're feeling unwell, stay home! It's not worth the risk. Stay close to home when you do go out, and make sure you pick a trail that isn't too crowded. Wash your hands before you go, carry hand sanitizer, and check park restrictions.
Outdoor Afro is a national not for profit organization with leadership networks around the country. They have a cutting-edge nationwide network with 80+ volunteer leaders in 42 cities. Their volunteer leaders, like Antoine Simmons in Arizona, guide one thousand nature events each year based on a simple mission to celebrate and inspire Black connection and leadership in nature through recreational activities like camping, hiking, birding, fishing, gardening, skiing—and more! Join them by visiting outdoorafro.com.
It can be dangerous for pets to spend excessive time outdoors in higher temperatures, so make sure you understand your pet's abilities and pay attention to their behavior. Pets heat up and cool off differently than humans, so don't base their health level on how you're feeling. Heatstroke can be life-threating for pets and they need plenty of water and shade to stay cool. For signs and treatment of heatstrokes, check out the Humane Society's guide to keeping pets safe in the heat.
Looking for more ways to stay safe while you enjoy the beautiful outdoor spaces in Arizona? Then check out this great guide of tips and advice from the Safety, Health & Consumer Council: Outdoor Safety Health Guide
Hiking in Arizona is a great way to get outdoors, but do so safely! Stay on the trails and make sure you stay smart - Take a Hike. Do it Right!