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Are you prepared for your next visit to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks? Each year, park rangers respond to hundreds of search and rescue incidents (SARs) in Arches and Canyonlands. It can take hours to locate and extract injured individuals. Luckily, SARs can be prevented. In this video, rangers Collin and Kat talk about Preventative Search and Rescue (PSAR) and show you how to plan ahead, pack the 10 essentials, and hike safely in the park.
Each year, park rangers respond to hundreds of search or rescue incidents in the park. These frequently involve heat exhaustion, dehydration, climbing or scrambling and improper footwear.
We want your visit to be safe and enjoyable. Below are some of the potential hazards you may experience during your visit. Please become familiar with them, and keep them in mind while you're here.
Heat & Sun
During the summer, expect high temperatures, intense sunlight and low humidity. Eat plenty of food and drink at least one gallon of water, per person, each day. Carry and drink water (at least 2 liters) during all activities in the park, such as hiking. Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing and a wide-brimmed hat. Apply sunscreen to all exposed skin. Avoid hiking in the middle of the day. Save strenuous activity for early mornings or evenings. You can get water at the visitor center and at the Devils Garden trailhead and campground.
Wear sturdy shoes with enough tread to give you good traction. Do not hike in smooth-soled shoes or boots. Some trails cover uneven terrain and follow rock ledges.
In winter, trails may be icy. We recommend you wear traction devices on your shoes.
Climbing & Scrambling
Slickrock invites adventure. When you climb or scramble, be sure you can retrace your steps. Climbing up is easier than climbing back down. Sandstone is slippery when wet or covered in sand. Do not climb or walk on arches or major features like Balanced Rock.
Lightning & Flash Floods
Storms and flash floods can be powerful and sudden. When lightning is present, avoid lone trees, cliff edges and high ridges. Crouch low to the ground. Return to your vehicle if possible. Never try to cross a wash that is flooding. Read more on weather.
Stay with companions while hiking; separation can mean getting lost. Do not count on a cellular phone to summon help; cellular service will not reach into many areas of Arches. If you become lost, stay where you are and wait for rescue. Wandering will endanger your life and make finding you difficult. When traveling alone, always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.
Black bears occasionally wander into the park from the nearby mountains.
After a snowfall, the park road may close for several hours for plowing. Park roads, parking lots, and pullouts can still be icy, especially in shaded areas.
Last updated: May 11, 2022