WATER: On hot, dry, summer days, you should be drinking 1 quart of water per hour of hiking (bring water filter if hiking long distance). Our humidity in the desert is low. You may be dehydrated and not even realize it. Drinking water before hiking can help reduce the risk of dehydration, as well as drinking during the hike (don't wait until you feel thirsty). Bring Electrolytes replacements such as sports drinks, or salty snacks, (bodies not only suffer from lack of water, but lack of sodium electrolytes as well.) This can be lifesaving in the case of heat exhaustion. You can purchase packets at the Visitor Center at both districts to drop in your water. In the winter, take at least 2 quarts per day. Drink your water often and turn back when half your supply is gone. Dehydration can happen fast and is a serious health concern. Both Visitor Centers have bottles available and water refilling stations for you to stay hydrated.
HEAT: Hike within your ability and rest often when hiking in the heat. Be prepared to recognize the signs of heat-related illnesses: dehydration, hypernatremia, heat exhaustion and heat stroke; and be prepared to treat these cases. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
10AM-4PM - HOTTEST PART OF THE DAY: Move like the animals, avoid the intense heat during the hours of 10am-4pm. Start early in the morning or close to sunset. This will help keep you safe.
MAP: Carry a park map showing accurate trail information. Its a good idea to carry your map in a Ziploc or seal bag for protection against wetness. A compass is very handy as well.
ITINERARY: Leave your itinerary with a friend or relative.
GEAR: Prepare yourself with the proper gear (see hiking checklist for details), hat, sunscreen, proper footwear, etc.
FLOODING: Flash floods occur during the monsoon season. Avoid hiking in washes (dry riverbeds) when thunderstorms are occurring anywhere nearby, especially uphill from you. Do not try to cross a flooded road in your vehicle under any circumstances.
LIGHTNING: Be prepared for thunderstorms. If you see lightning, move quickly to a safe place. Avoid hilltops, ridges, and flat open areas. If unable to find shelter, do the "lightning crouch:" put feet together, squat low, tuck head, and cover ears.
INFORMATION: Call for up-to-date road and weather information before heading out. Consult Park Rangers with questions at the visitor center 520.733.5153.