By Bailey Breeding
Community Relations Intern

With temperatures heating up, it’s time to start thinking about hiking safety. Hiking is a great way to get outside and get some exercise. Safety should be a top priority when hiking this summer. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Bring plenty of water: A good rule of thumb, especially in high heat, is 1 Liter per hour. Pre-hydrating is also advised, which means drinking the day and morning before strenuous exercise.

Learn the trail: understanding the route, distance, terrain, elevation, and difficulty is key to planning your hike. Don’t leave it to chance. For information about the Arizona Trail, visit

Tell someone where you’re going, or better yet, hike in groups of two or more!

Wear a hat, sunscreen, and sturdy comfortable shoes. Use hiking sticks for stability.

Bring a map, flashlight, food, first aid kit, a heat source for emergencies, and a waterproof tarp. Weather can change rapidly, especially during the monsoon season.

Bring a fully charged cell phone. For more remote areas, consider a personal locator beacon.

Water might add extra weight but it is important to bring plenty of it along, especially in the Arizona desert. Sipping water throughout your hike will keep you hydrated and allow you to keep going. Packing electrolytes is also a great idea, along with nutritious food and snacks such as granola bars and trail mix.

Make a concrete plan that includes: where you’ll be hiking, when you plan to arrive and return, and who is with you. Leave this information with a trusted friend or family member. You should never hike alone, invite a friend to enjoy the hike with you. Bring a map; don’t rely on your phone as the battery may die or you may not have service.

Consider what you are wearing: moisture-wicking clothes are best for hiking. Hiking boots that have ankle support are great for dirt and gravel trail hiking, while tennis shoes are good for paved urban pathways. Bring a hat and sunglasses to help protect yourself from the sun. Sunscreen should be worn and reapplied as needed.
When hiking you should only go as fast as the slowest person in your group. Hike at an enjoyable pace and don’t push yourself too hard. Take breaks as needed. Keep track of the time it takes you and the distance you traveled so that you don’t get stuck in the dark.

At the Fire District it’s not unusual for crews to assist stranded or injured hikers in the area. Sometimes this involves a walk up to a nearby trail, but other times it may involve a lengthy technical rescue. Calling 911 for help on the trail is nothing to be ashamed of: In fact, it may save your life. Place safety at the top of your list and have fun hitting the trails this summer! To find out more, please reach out to the Fire District at 520-647-3760 or visit our website at

Bailey grew up in Vail and graduated from Andrada Polytechnic High School. She is interning at RVFD, where she is working on safety education outreach, while obtaining a degree in fire science. Bailey loves coaching volleyball and hiking in Arizona.

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