Review park safety guidelines, regulations, fees, and permit information.
Take along plenty of water. We recommend a gallon of water per person per six hours of hiking during the summer season. There is no water available along most trails.
Pace yourself, take water breaks often, and drink even if you don't feel thirsty. (Note: As soon as you begin to feel thirsty, you are already starting to become dehydrated.)
Apply sunscreen liberally before your hike and reapply as needed. Dress for the weather- when the sun is blazing; protect skin with lightweight, light-colored clothing including long sleeved shirts and pants. Always wear a wide-brimmed hat and sturdy closed-toe hiking boots with ankle support. Be prepared with raingear.
During summer thunderstorms, lightning and flash floods can come suddenly and may pose threats. Avoid open and low-lying areas at these times.
Pack a park map showing accurate trail information (available at park visitor center). Avoid getting lost by staying on established trails at all times and stay aware of your location on the map.
Leave itinerary with friend or relative. Take a cell phone.
Be alert while hiking. Watch for prickly plants especially cholla cactus spines which can easily become embedded into your skin. If a cactus piece decides it wants to ride along with you, do not grab it. Use two sticks or a multi-tool as a lever to flip it off and away.
Be alert for wildlife. Always maintain a safe distance from wildlife and treat them with respect. Know what to do if you encounter Africanized bees, rattlesnakes, mountain lions, and black bears.
Pets are not allowed on any trails. They may be walked in the picnic areas and parking lots and on the roadways as long as they remain on a six foot leash and remain on the pavement. Go to the Pets page, to find out more.
Call to check for up-to-date road and weather information.
Use caution crossing roads as there is often heavy traffic especially on Picture Rocks, Sandario, and Kinney roads.
Lock your vehicle and do not leave valuables in your vehicle.
Daypack: 1 gallon of water (prevent dehydration1), salty snacks (prevent hyponatremia2), maps, sunscreen, comb and/or a multi-tool (to remove cactus spines), cell phone, compass.
1Dehydration occurs when the body is depleted of fluids necessary for proper cell function.
2Hyponatremia occurs when water and sodium are both lost from the body, but the level of sodium loss is greater. Sodium is critical for blood pressure maintenance as well as to keep nerves and muscles working properly.