Jun 10, 2022 - News

Phoenix closes popular hiking trails during excessive heat

A saguaro cactus and shrubs in front of an orange-colored mountain.

Camelback Mountain's Echo Canyon and Cholla trails will close during excessive heat warnings. Photo: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Camelback Mountain's Echo Canyon and Cholla trails and all routes from the Piestewa Peak trailhead in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve will be closed from 11am to 5pm during the excessive heat warning set to expire Sunday evening.

Why it matters: This is the first trail closure of the summer season. Hiking during extreme heat can be dangerous.

  • The Phoenix Fire Department responded to 103 mountain rescues last summer which was up from 89 the year before.

Details: The Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board voted last October to close the city's most popular hiking trails during the heat of the day when the National Weather Service issues an excessive heat warning.

  • Dogs aren't allowed on any Phoenix trails when the temperature is 100 degrees or warmer.

What they're saying: Each year, when the first summer mountain rescue makes headlines, many Phoenix residents call for a "stupid hiker law" that would require hikers to reimburse the city if they need rescuing because they hiked when it was too hot or didn't bring enough water.

  • Phoenix has shot down this idea many times, saying it's too difficult to determine who is acting "stupid" and who made a reasonable mistake and may discourage people from calling for help when they need it.

Be smart: If you're going to hit the trails this summer, bring more water than you think you need, wear heat-protective clothing and sunscreen and bring your cellphone or a friend — or both.

Better yet: Take a short drive to a cooler part of the state this weekend to get your exercise.


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