NewsPhoenix Metro NewsCentral Phoenix News


Popular Phoenix Camelback, Piestewa Peak hiking trails to close under extreme heat

Posted at 9:11 PM, Oct 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-29 01:35:36-04

PHOENIX — Closing popular hiking trails on Phoenix mountains during the extreme heat was initially a pilot program, but now the move is becoming permanent.

The policy affects trails on Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak mountains, aimed to protect hikers and first responders.

Following Thursday's unanimous vote, ABC15 spoke with hikers who were hitting the trail. Some were thrilled about the decision from Phoenix officials, while others were not.

Keith Silbor is among those who say they're not thrilled with the decision to shut down trails during extreme heat.

"It's not the local population that's getting in trouble and needing the rescue. It's people that come from out of town that are ill prepared," Silbor added.

Silbor says he has spent a lot of time over the years hiking Camelback and Piestewa Peak.

“I don't care if it's 110º. I mean, I make sure I'm hydrated. I've been in Arizona for 35 years, never asked anything of the fire department in terms of rescuing me," Silbor said.

The Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board's now permanent rule restricts access to Echo Canyon and Cholla trails at Camelback, and associated trails at Phoenix Mountain Preserve.

The time frame of the closures will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on days when the National Weather Service has an Excessive Heat Watch in effect.

Trails were only closed a total of 8 days during the pilot program.

Plus, there were no mountain rescues between those hours during those eight days where the trails were closed due to extreme heat.

This change is something Tara Walton says is best for all hikers.

"I think it's a good idea to close them during high heat because of what's happened lately," said Walton.

Crystal Lopez is from Texas and came to Phoenix for work.

"Texas is hot, but it's really hot here. I think it's honestly hotter here than it is in Texas. So, I mean, I think the intention is good," added Walton.

While hikers may have different opinions on this decision, all agree on one thing: being prepared.

"Hydration, hydration, hydration," said Silbor.

"You need to have water. You need to have a nap sack, or your [hydration pack]," added Walton.

"You gotta make sure your body is prepared for that extreme heat," Silbor told ABC15.

There are still more than 215 miles folks can hike on that won't have these restrictions.

See routes that can be hiked without any restrictions in the map below.