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How to hike safely during Arizona summers

Phoenix recently had its first 100-degree day, and temperatures are going to keep climbing. Here are some tips from Arizona State Parks on staying safe on the trail.

PHOENIX — >>Editor's note: The above video is from a previously aired broadcast.

Hiking is one of Arizona's most popular weekend activities. But the days are getting longer – and hotter. Every year, over 200 hikers are rescued from Phoenix alone, according to Arizona State Parks and Trails (ASPT).

But there are plenty of ways to get out on the trails and enjoy Arizona's gorgeous summers without becoming one of those hikers in need of help. 

We've got everything you need to know about hiking in the heat:

Hydration is a journey, not a destination

We can't stress this one enough: Always bring more water than you think you'll need! 

You should be drinking water before, during, and after a hike, according to ASPT. You may not feel like you're sweating a lot because of the dry weather, but you'll be losing water even faster in the heat.

"When you've finished half of your water supply, it's time to turn around -- no matter where you are on a trail," the department said. 

According to REI, you should drink half a liter up to a full liter of water every hour that you're on the trail.

Here are the signs of dehydration:

  • Dry mouth
  • Decreased energy
  • Nausea
  • Muscle cramps
  • Headaches

So know what to look for, and stay on top of your hydration game!

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Plan ahead, and gear up

Know where you're going! Before you hike, make sure you have all of your trail maps and guides downloaded or printed.

You can find plenty of trail information at AZStateParks.com/Arizona-Hiking or third-party organizations like AllTrails or Gaia GPS. When you're heading out, the department said it's a good idea to take a GPS with you and make sure your phone is fully charged.

Keep an eye on emergency alerts. The National Weather Service will issue a heat warning if the temperature poses a threat.

And if you're hiking alone, tell someone you know where you're going and how long you expect to be gone. 

And make sure you have the right gear. Here are a few things to consider:

  • A hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Long lightweight sleeves
  • Light-colored, moisture-wicking, breathable clothing
  • Sturdy, comfortable footwear
  • Insect repellent
  • Salty snacks
  • Plenty of water

Know your limits

As so many people like to say: It's a dry heat. And that dry heat will sneak up on you. Make sure you know the warning signs of heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion can cause dizziness, excessive sweating, nausea, and vomiting, as well as cool and clammy, pale skin. 

Heat stroke -- which is much more serious -- can cause severe headaches, confusion, and changes in behavior. A person suffering from heat stroke will stop sweating and feel hot to the touch.

At that point, it's time to call 911. 

RELATED: Heat stroke vs. heat exhaustion: How to know the difference

But it's always best to avoid the problem entirely. There's no shame in calling off a hike and turning around! 

During a hike, check in with yourself and see how you're doing. How are your energy levels? Do you still have enough water? What's the temperature?

Questions like those are the key to having a fun-filled weekend on Arizona's beautiful trails.

As ASPT puts it, "Every trail can be your favorite if you have a great time."

For more tips and safety information, you can visit azstateparks.com/hiking-safety



Here are several videos about Arizona's extreme heat and how you can stay safe during the state's summer months.

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