Heatwaves of epic proportions have been crashing all over the US this year.
The heat can be a significant deterrent to most when considering going outside on a hike or a ride, but it doesn’t need to be. When it’s done right, you can stay cool, and more importantly, you can stay safe while hiking and mountain biking in Arizona, even on the hottest days.
Whether you were born and raised in the desert or are just visiting for the first time, hiking safety should never be overlooked.
There are simple steps you can take to enjoy the outdoors this summer. Here are some biking and hiking tips for beating the heat in Arizona.
5 Safety Tips for Biking in Arizona This Summer
1. Check the weather
Like we mentioned earlier, this year has been full of record-breaking temperatures all across the country. In most places, especially in the desert, the temperature can change dramatically in the blink of an eye.
In the morning, you may need a hoodie and pants, but by the time the sun is overhead, you’ll want nothing more than to be in a walk-in cooler.
Come to your hike or ride prepared.
Check the weather in the morning before you leave.
If you see record-high temps, it may not be the best day for you to go out. If you’re still determined to go out, then go out with the right gear and mindset.
2. Choose the right trail
On a blazing hot day, certain trails will be better than others. When you’re looking for a good trail to hike or bike on a hot day, look for those protected by a considerable amount of shade.
Look for protection from the east in the morning and the west for afternoon hikes.
Look for trails that have a good water source available as well. If you run out of water, then you have an easy fix, so long as you bring water treatment. Taking a quick dip into a cold stream can help quickly lower your body temp and get you back to feeling refreshed and ready to keep moving.
3. Wake up early or avoid the summer heat with a night ride
The desert environment can be temperamental when it comes to a safe, comfortable temperature.
At night, you experience drastically lower temperatures than in the middle of the day. Going out on an early morning or an early evening ride or hike will provide much needed safety from the hottest parts of the day.
Be sure to watch out for wildlife and bring an appropriate light source.
4. Stay hydrated
Possibly the most common thing you’ll hear when talking about hot weather is anyone and everyone telling you to drink more water. Our advice is, listen to their advice.
You can overhydrate, but in the Arizona sun, that is relatively low risk. It is too easy to become dehydrated quickly without ever noticing the signs and symptoms. Dehydration can make short distances stretch into a lifetime of hiking and make any outdoor situation significantly more dangerous.
So, think about how much water you need, add some more, and then double it. Pay attention to the trail you’re heading out on, and make sure you have water treatment or enough water brought along if there isn’t any available.
5. Know the signs of heat illnesses
Hopefully, this is the point that you never come to, but it’s essential to know how to identify when something is going wrong. Heat exhaustion and heatstroke are the two heat illnesses you need to be aware of before setting foot into the sun.
If you start experiencing symptoms such as:
- weak and rapid pulse,
- high core temperature,
- fainting, or
- hallucinations, it’s time to treat immediately and cut the hike short.
Taking a short amount of time to learn how to treat these symptoms can be a quick way to save your own or someone else’s life.
The Sonoran desert is a magnificent place with tons of opportunities to see things seemingly out of this world. Just make sure you stay in this world with these safety tips.