Heat & Sun
Heat exposure is far and away the most likely hazard that visitors should plan for. The summer months, particularly July and August, can be extremely hot with many days reaching over 100 F/38 C and very little shade on the trails.
If you see a snake during your visit to the monument, it will probably be a non-poisonous bull snake or garter snake. However, two species of rattlesnakes also make their home here, the northern pacific rattlesnake and the prairie rattlesnake.
Rattlesnakes will usually try to crawl away or remain hidden unless surprised. You can minimize the chances of being bitten by keeping your distance. It also helps to watch where you put hands and feet. Snakes will seek shady, cooler areas when the hot summer sun is out, so avoid putting hands and feet in locations where you can't see.
Though unlikely, there is a chance you may encounter a mountain lion. Learn what to do if that happens. You can best avoid mountain lion encounters by hiking in a group and keeping children close.
SpidersBlack widow spiders are found under stones, around stumps, in holes in the ground, around outbuildings, under furniture or sinks, in trash or leaves, and in similar places. Though they are quite venomous, they seldom bite people. When disturbed they are much more likely to attempt to escape than attack.
Brown recluse spiders are usually found in sheltered places out of doors, such as in basements, attics, barns, or behind furniture. A person bitten by a brown recluse will probably not even feel the bite or know that they have been bitten until 12 hours or so later when a lesion at the bite site may start to appear.