Smart hiking essential in Arizona's summer heat
GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — Visitors to Grand Canyon, especially inner canyon hikers, mule riders, and backpackers, need to prepare for excessively hot days in the coming weeks.
In the summer, temperatures on exposed parts of the trail can reach over 120 F (49 C). Hiking in extreme heat can lead to serious health risks including heat exhaustion, heat stroke, hyponatremia and hyperthermia.
Anyone still planning to hike into the canyon should take extra precautions to hike smart. Hikers should hike before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. and rest in shade and near water during those times to avoid the worst heat of the day. Rangers advise that anyone hiking in heat needs to balance food and water intake, drink when thirsty, and get wet to stay cool.
All visitors to Grand Canyon should ensure they are drinking plenty of fluids, resting in shade during the heat of the day, watching for signs of distress in traveling companions, and dressing appropriately for the weather, which includes loose-fitting clothing. Visitors are also reminded they should be prepared to self-rescue while on the canyon’s trails.
In 2017, heat contributed to 82 search and rescue (SAR) incidents at Grand Canyon National Park, many of which occurred in June. So far this month, park rangers have responded to multiple heat-related incidents in the inner canyon, including one fatality, Douglas Stewart, 61, of Alaska.
More information about hiking smart in the heat is available at https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/hike-smart.htm.
Information provided by Grand Canyon National Park.