There is plenty of shade across metropolitan Phoenix, you just have to know where to look. You’ll find a bit of an oasis at these 10 serene spots.
From the Sedona red rocks to Camelback Mountain, Arizona is not short on popular trails for hikers.
But the desert summer can make these trails perilous, even deadly, to navigate.
In March, two out-of-state hikers had to be rescued when they veered off the main trail on Camelback and ran out of water.
Last year, a young personal trainer went biking on a North Phoenix mountain trail early in the day with a group, and she died as a result of a heat-related illness. She was an experienced biker who had become tired in the heat before she gained an “altered mental status.”
“It just goes to show that no one is safe from this heat,” a Phoenix Fire captain said at the time.
That is why Park Ranger Lynn Swan stood at the start of the trail Sunday to greet hikers, asking if they had enough water for the hike. She cautioned hikers that the 95 degree heat as of mid-morning would likely eclipse 100 degrees before their hike was over.
“We’re advising that people bring plenty of water and pay attention to their bodies,” Swan said.
“For the most part, you want to hike as early in the morning as you can,” she said.
The especially difficult trail on Camelback features an elevation gain of approximately 1,300 feet over a 1.2-mile hike to the summit. Signs at the beginning of the trail rate it as “extremely difficult.” This difficulty is only exacerbated by the heat.
Swan advised hikers they should turn around and head back down the trail when their water source is half gone.
One of the hikers who decided to tackle the trail mid-morning was an experienced hiker, looking for a new challenge.
Arizona native Ryan Krench had never tackled any trails on Camelback before Sunday but said he knew the risk.
“I brought about 80 ounces of water for this hike,” said Krench. “I pace myself. It’s a good workout. This is a pretty difficult hike, so I expect I’ll be tired at the end of it.”
Another new hiker was a father of three, looking to keep his kids active.
Tony Rowlader, originally from Michigan, has been in Arizona for about two years, He chose Father’s Day to tackle Camelback for the first time with his three children. .
“I’m getting the kids used to it … getting the two 8-year-olds and one 9-year-old more experienced,” said Rowlader.
“As we get more experienced with hiking, we will go further and further, but we got a bunch of water, sunblock and Gatorade,” he said.
In addition to hydration, pace and knowledge of your limits is very important to keep in mind when hiking in extreme heat,
Hiking in extreme heat without hydration or on difficult trails can be fatal.
Firefighters are often tasked at rescuing hikers off the mountain when they become lightheaded, dizzy and distressed.
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are things that natives and non-natives alike have to be aware of during the summer months. Water is a must if you’re looking to be an active outdoors-person in Arizona.
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