tips for hiking in the heat

Tips for Hiking in the Heat

by | Jul 21, 2023

In recent weeks, the Southwest United States has been engulfed in a heat wave. While Southern Utah has been spared the extreme heat seen in places like Phoenix, Arizona, and Death Valley in California, it’s still seen temperatures spike. 

Hiking in the region’s national parks is one of the most popular ways to explore Southern Utah during a stay at Chuckwagon Lodge. But when temperatures climb, this activity can go from a fun way to spend a day to a dangerous situation if you aren’t prepared.

If you’re planning to enjoy one of the most popular things to do in Capitol Reef National Park during your stay in Torrey Utah hotels this summer, keep reading. We’re breaking down what you need to know to stay safe on the trails, no matter the temperature.

Consider Your Timing and Route

One of the most crucial aspects of hiking in the heat is planning your timing and route wisely. The sun’s intensity is typically at its peak between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. On hot days, aim to start your hike early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the hottest part of the day. 

If you want to hike during those peak hours, research trails that offer some shade or less elevation. Avoid steep or strenuous trails if you’re not accustomed to hiking in hot conditions.

For instance, Hickman Bridge Trail in Capitol Reef is just two miles roundtrip and a relatively easy hike. This makes it a good alternative to longer, more difficult trails like Rim Overlook Trail.

Hydration Is Key

Staying hydrated is paramount when hiking in high temperatures. Dehydration can lead to heat-related illnesses and even serious health risks. Before hitting the trail, drink plenty of water to ensure you’re well-hydrated from the start. In fact, if you’re planning to visit Torrey Utah hotels this time of year, you should plan to start hydrating several days before your trip.

On the trails, carry an adequate supply of water. You can also pack electrolyte drinks or powder packs to add to your water to help you stay hydrated. As a general rule, you should drink around one half-liter of water for every hour of moderate hiking. But if temperatures are high or the trail is challenging, you’ll need to drink more.

Dress for the Weather

The right clothing can have a big impact on whether you stay safe and comfortable on the trails. In fact, this rule applies whether you’re visiting Capitol Reef National Park hotels in the summer heat or the winter chill

For a summer hike, opt for lightweight, moisture-wicking fabrics that allow your skin to breathe and evaporate sweat. Long-sleeved shirts and pants made from such materials can provide protection from the sun while still keeping you cool. Don’t forget to add a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to your national park packing list.

Take Frequent Breaks

It’s important to listen to your body and take regular breaks during a hot-weather hike. Find shaded spots along the trail to rest and cool down. Use these breaks to rehydrate, refuel, and allow your body to recover from the heat. Taking short breaks can also prevent you from overexerting yourself, reducing the risk of heat-related illnesses.

Learn to Recognize the Signs of Heat-Related Illnesses

Heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, can escalate quickly and pose serious threats to your health. Educate yourself about the symptoms of these conditions, which may include excessive sweating, nausea, dizziness, confusion, rapid heart rate, and even loss of consciousness. 

If you or a fellow hiker show these signs, it’s crucial to take immediate action: find shade, rest, drink water, and cool down using techniques like wetting clothing or using a cold compress. If symptoms worsen or don’t improve, seek medical help promptly.

Hike with a Buddy

Hiking with a friend or a group is always a good idea, but it’s especially important in hot conditions. Having someone to watch out for you and vice versa adds an extra layer of safety. You can monitor each other’s hydration levels, spot signs of heat-related issues, and provide assistance if needed. Invite a friend or family member along for your stay in Torrey Utah hotels so that you can watch out for one another.

Know Your Limits

Lastly, know your limits and be willing to adjust your plans accordingly. If you’re feeling unwell or fatigued, or if the heat becomes too intense, it’s perfectly acceptable to turn back or cut your hike short. Your safety should always be the top priority.

If you do cut your hike short, you can always head back to Chuckwagon Lodge to take a dip in the pool or enjoy a nap in your air-conditioned room.

Planning a Summer Visit to Torrey Utah Hotels

Don’t let the heat scare you away from planning a stay in Torrey Utah hotels. With these tips, it’s possible to enjoy a safe, fun hike this time of year. Plus, there are plenty of other ways to spend your time at Chuckwagon Lodge

If a hot day is in the forecast during your stay and you’d rather not hike, consider taking a day trip to Fremont Indian State Park and Museum, which includes plenty of shaded sites and an air-conditioned museum. Or, head to Fishlake National Forest, which has a higher elevation that provides relief from the heat at the lower elevation Torrey. Check out these and other fun day trips here.

The Chuckwagon Blog

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