Before you head out on the trail
- Mark sure you park only on paved surfaces. Parking on unpaved surfaces slowly erodes preserve land, generates dust and poses a fire risk to grasses and small brush from hot engine parts.
- Make sure someone knows where you'll be hiking and when you expect to return.
- Before leaving your car, make sure your valuables are stored out of sight. The best solution is to leave your valuables such as a wallet or purse at home or secure them in the trunk before arriving at the trailhead.
- Lock your car and take your keys with you (do not try to hide keys under a tire or car bumper).
- Report suspicious activity to Park Rangers or to Crime Stop at (602) 262-6151.
Have a hiking plan
- Know where you are going and know what kind of terrain you will be hiking on. It is important to remember that the Phoenix mountain preserves are open, undeveloped desert areas. Hikers can encounter rocky terrain, rattlesnakes and other potential hazards native to the Sonoran Desert. Bring a trail map when possible.
- Don't hike alone - it's safer and more fun to do the trail with a friend.
- Know your limitations. Don't do more than you are able.
Have the essentials
- Bring plenty of water (One quart for short hikes-more for longer hikes).
- A water pack is preferable for you to keep your hands free while hiking.
- Wear appropriate footwear, preferably hiking boots.
- Wear light-colored, comfortable clothing.
- Bring a hat and sunblock (SPF 15 minimum).
- Basic first aid supplies.
- Cell phone.
- Phoenix mountain preserves are open, undeveloped desert areas. Hikers can encounter rocky terrain, rattlesnakes and other potential hazards native to the Sonoran Desert. Staying on trails and observing trail etiquette will help to ensure that your preserve outing is a safe one.
- ALWAYS stay on a designated trail. Phoenix city ordinances prohibit trailblazing.
- Learn to share the trails with all other users. In general, bike riders yield to both hikers and horseback riders; hikers yield to horseback riders. However, for all trail users, downhill yields to uphill.
- Use common sense and courtesy while on the trails. Announce your intentions and slow your pace when passing someone on the trails.
- Do not litter.
- Destruction or removal of plants, animals, historical, prehistoric or geological sites are prohibited.
- Do not chase or harass wildlife.
- Avoid putting your hands and feet anywhere you cannot see.
- Remember the 3 C's: Courtesy, Communication and Common Sense.
Keeping your pets safe
- Phoenix City Code requires all dogs to be restrained by a leash. Pets can be curious about desert animals and burrows in which they live. It is not uncommon for a dog to be bitten on the nose by a rattlesnake or to have a small animal snatched up by a hungry coyote.
- Dogs can easily become overheated due to their difficulty in dissipating heat. It is recommended to hike with your pet during the cooler times of the day. During periods of extreme heat, dog owners might want to completely refrain from bringing dogs on any moderate or difficult trails that require climbing or significant exertion.
- Always bring water for your pet.
- For the health, safety and welfare of all park users, pet owners must immediately remove and properly dispose of waste left by pets in a secured plastic bag and place in solid waste container.
What to do when you need help?
- S.T.O.P. (Stop, Think, Observe, Plan). Your brain is your #1 survival tool.
- If you are lost or injured, do not panic.
- If you need help, notify a Park Ranger by calling (602) 262-PARK; for emergencies call 9-1-1.
- Know your location. Look for the nearest trail marker or any noticeable landmark such as a bench, wash or tree.
- Identify the emergency situation (Be specific regarding the condition of an injured person).
Copyright 2009 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.