Arizona hiking trails are plentiful, and every path takes individuals through stunning landscapes with picturesque views. These views can make it appealing to hike during the summer. However, as temperatures rise, hiking can be dangerous without following a few basic safety tips. 

EXPERIENCE ARIZONA: 10 of Arizona’s best hikes

Wear Proper Clothing to Hike 

The first thing those hiking during the summer should consider is what they are going to wear. Light colors can help keep you cool and avoid heat-related illnesses. This is because light colors reflect sun rays that make you hot. Dark colors absorb these rays and can exacerbate the heat you’re already experiencing. The ideal colors are white and tan. In addition, loose-fitting clothes that are nylon and polyester can be a better choice as they are breathable and help your body regulate temperature. 

Other helpful hiking safety tips include covering up and putting a hat on. Covering up with a lightweight long-sleeve or hat can provide sun protection and avoid the most common summer hiking concern, sunburn. A hat also provides shade to your face, which can help you stay cool. 

Take Breaks and Bring Snacks 

Taking breaks and bringing snacks can be critical to avoid overheating on your hike. When taking a break, you should find a shady spot rather than just sitting down in the sun. This can help cool your body down and allow you to hydrate without sweating the water out. Besides drinking water, nutrient-packed snacks are an essential part of packing and will keep you moving steadily throughout the hike. Snacks with protein will allow you to have the energy you need to continue your hike. However, salty snacks, like pretzels, can also be important. Salt helps keep your body balanced and prevents it from overhydrating. This is the same as adding electrolytes to your water. 

Trail Safety – Make a Plan and Tell Someone Where You Are 

To minimize overheating, those attempting a hike should remember to get to the trails early. Hikers should avoid being on a trail after 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. as these are the hottest hours of the day. However, the earlier you start your hike the better chances you have of completion. Trail safety also includes telling a family member or friend where you’re going and informing them about how long you expect to be gone. Making someone aware of these crucial details will help know if or when to call for help. For example, if you are not back in your normal timeframe, they can drive to the trail to find you or reach out to a local ranger to see if they have more information. 

Hiking in Arizona can be fun and worth the potential risks of hiking in the heat if you prepare well. However, temperatures can greatly impact your body and its ability to complete a seemingly easy hike. Remembering these tips and tricks will ensure that you will have an enjoyable hike and fantastic memories. 

Author: Katie Ellering is the self-appointed mayor of Tortilla Flat.