If you're visiting the metro Phoenix-Scottsdale area and you're considering hiking some of our beautiful mountain trails today, take note... it's hotter than you think, and the trails are steeper than you think.
Remember that our firefighters routinely pull tourists (and sometimes even locals) off the mountain trails on stretchers and take them to the E.R.
Here are some tips to keep you safe when you're hiking the desert mountain trails of the metro Phoenix-Scottsdale area. Tips courtesy of the Scottsdale Parks department and the Phoenix Parks Department, and you can see more tips on their websites.
- Always tell someone where you're going, when you'll be back, and stick to your plan!
- Hike with a friend; it's safer and more fun.
- Bring lots of water, three or four times as much as you think you need. The Scottsdale Parks department recommends at least one gallon of water per person, per day. I personally think that a standard-sized 16 to 19 ounce bottle is enough for about 15 minutes when it's really hot outside.
- Wear a hat! If you've forgotten a hat, cover your head with whatever's handy
- Wear and carry sunscreen, SPF 15 at minimum. Reapply more often than you think you need to.
- Wear closed toe hiking shoes, or at least wear sneakers.
- Rest 10 to 30 minutes for each hour of walking, depending on your overall level of fitness.
Get some info on the trail before you go. The Phoenix Parks department has a wonderful online library of information about the trails, their length, their degree of difficulty, locations of Park Ranger ramadas, etc. The City of Scottsdale also has a wonderful online resource about their hiking trail system.
- ALWAYS stay on a designated trail. City ordinances prohibit trailblazing.
- Learn to share the trails with all other users.
- In general, bike riders yield to both hikers and horseback riders; hikers yield to horseback riders. However, for all trail users, downhill yields to uphill. Use common sense and courtesy while on the trails.
- Announce your intentions and slow your pace when passing someone on the trails
Well dear reader, I hope you have an enjoyable experience hiking our desert southwest trails! I'll be out there on South Mountain, sweating it out with the rest of you today, April 1, 2011.
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