Recreating Safely in Arizona's Summer

Arizona State Parks issues reminders for outdoor enthusiasts to prevent emergencies in summertime conditions

PHOENIX – Arizona’s extreme summertime temperatures may be infamous, but there’s so much more to the Grand Canyon State than one type of landscape, one elevation, and one set of weather conditions. Opportunities for outdoor recreation abound even in the southwest’s summer, but take the following precautions so your fun in the sun never turns into an emergency situation.

Beat the Heat

Don’t deprive yourself of time outdoors, but seek alternatives to avoid heat exhaustion. Save challenging hikes for cooler weather, and enjoy milder trails in the early morning hours. You’ll be rewarded with a stunning Arizona sunrise. 

Take care of your physical needs by wearing sun protection, staying hydrated, bringing more water than you think you’ll need, and turning back when you reach half of your water supply. Find reprieve from the heat with trips to higher elevations found in forested places like northern Arizona, the White Mountains, or the Sky Islands. Or embrace a sunny day by cooling down in a lake, stream, or river at Arizona’s beautiful water destinations.

Flash Flood Safety

This arid climate receives a scanty amount of rainfall annually, and is currently in a decades-long drought. Because of these factors, the soil cannot absorb the copious amount of precipitation that can fall during a monsoon storm. Danger is also escalated around areas that have been recently scarred by wildfire. Flash floods develop quickly and bring danger from rapidly-flowing water and debris that can carry away people, vehicles, roads, and even structures. 

Always check a weather report before heading out to recreate. Do not park or camp in low lying areas along waterways or washes if there is a threat of rain. Should rain catch you off-guard while hiking or camping, or if you see or hear flowing water, move to higher, solid ground above the water line immediately. Never attempt to cross a flooded road or pathway.

Wildfire Prevention

Even though summer monsoons bring much needed moisture to the region, there are many areas of the state that are still in dangerously dry conditions. Remain vigilant to reduce the risk of wildland fires. 

When towing trailers, campers, or vehicles, check that your chains do not drag and cause sparks, which ignite dry brush bordering roadways. For off highway vehicles, maintain your spark arrestor and never park over dry vegetation. Before camping, check fire restrictions to see if a campfire will be permitted. Enjoy campfires responsibly and ensure it is completely cool to the touch before abandoning it. Drown the fire with water, stir the embers with a shovel, and repeat until they no longer emit any heat.

With these safety precautions, you can enjoy Arizona’ scenic outdoors all summer long. Find activities and destinations that will keep you cool and having fun at