Phoenix Trail Closure Program Expanded by Parks Board

By on September 7, 2023 0 29Views

The Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board voted last week to expand the City’s heat safety trail program that closes popular trails during the hottest days of the year.

The program will now be in effect all year long (previously May through October). Access will be restricted to Echo Canyon and Cholla Trails at Camelback Mountain and all trails associated with Piestewa Peak from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on days when the National Weather Service issues an Excessive Heat Warning.

The approved changes are effective immediately.

During times when trail access will be restricted, parking lot gates will be closed, and signage will be posted. Phoenix Park Rangers will be visible at those locations to remind and educate trail users about the restrictions. Closure information also will be communicated through the Parks and Recreation Department’s website​ and social media accounts, and to local resorts and hotels.

“Ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of our hikers and first responders while accessing our trails is our top priority,” said Kelly Dalton, Chair of the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board. “The action we took tonight is another important step in protecting individuals from the devasting effects that can result from hiking in extreme heat.”

“The central focus of Phoenix Fire is the safety and wellbeing of the customers we service,” Captain Rob McDade added. “It has become clear some hikers need rescuing even when they start their hike before 11 a.m. As a result, we believe the extended closure of trails will better protect everyone involved.”

During the Valley’s warm weather months, and regardless of an Excessive Heat Watch being in effect, it is recommended that trail users hike during the early morning or evening hours when it is cooler and there is more shade.

Residents can sign up to receive email alerts when trails are closed due to excessive heat.

The Phoenix Parks and Recreation, and Fire departments have worked in partnership since 2015 to share the “Take a Hike. Do it Right.” hiking safety message and continue to lead with education about responsible hiking. All trail users should follow these important and potentially life-saving hiking guidelines:

  • Watch the Weather: Yes, “it’s a dry heat” – but Arizona’s temperature can be deceiving and deadly. Hike when it’s cool outside, try early mornings and evenings when there’s more shade.
  • Dress Appropriately: Wear proper shoes, clothing, hat and sunscreen.
  • Bring Water: Hydrate before you go. Have plenty of water, more than you think you need. Turn around and head back to the trailhead before you drink half of your water.
  • Keep in Contact: Carry a mobile phone.
  • Team Up: Hike with others. If hiking solo, tell someone your start and end times, and location.
  • Be Honest: Do you have a medical condition? Asthma, heart problems, diabetes, knee or back problems? Don’t push yourself! (Even trained athletes have been caught off guard by getting dehydrated on Arizona trails.)
  • Don’t Trailblaze: Enjoy the Sonoran Desert’s beautiful and undeveloped landscape, but please stay on designated trails.
  • Take Responsibility: Don’t be “that person” – the one who wasn’t prepared, shouldn’t have been there for health reasons or ignored safety guidelines. Be the responsible hiker, who takes a hike and does it right!

For the safety of pets, dogs are prohibited on any City of Phoenix trail when the temperature is 100 degrees or warmer. The Arizona Humane Society advises that temperatures in the 90s are also unsafe for pets to be outdoors. Learn how to keep pets safe during Arizona’s warm weather months.