Year round, Zion National Park is a magnet for hikers that come from all over the world with all different levels of expertise. Regardless of the experience, all hikers must remember one thing – safety first. Nature is no respecter of persons. Below, we’ve listed a few tips and resources that will prove useful in planning a successful and safe trip for you and your loved ones.
First – check the weather
With all of her beauty, Zion’s can be a treacherous place in case of bad weather. Fortunately, with modern technology, we can detect when hazardous weather conditions will arise. When planning your trip, check the Zion National Park Weather Forecast. Also, be sure to check the “hazardous weather outlook” page. This page can be found by clicking on the red bar at the top of each forecast page.
Second – come prepared
Remember, Zion’s is located in the heart of southern Utah – a desert. Weather conditions easily shift between extremes within the same day. A few tips:
- Bring enough water (1 gallon/person/day) and drink it. Be sure to treat any water from natural springs before drinking it. (How to treat water)
- Pack appropriate clothing and shoes. Even during the summer, nighttime temperatures can drop very low. Cotton is not recommended as it does not insulate at all when wet.
- Be aware of signs of heat exhaustion and hypothermia, both of which are possible occurrences in Zion’s regardless of the time of year.
- Heat exhaustion: headaches, cramps, nausea, vomiting, and pale, cold and clammy skin
- Hypothermia: uncontrollable shivering, weakness, confusion, slurred, speech, fatigue, stumbling, and poor coordination
- Be aware of other hazards. See this list that is specific to Zion’s.
- Check the weather (see above)
Third – don’t risk it
Zion’s is full of tempting, though hazardous, challenges. Base jumping and hiking up steep and rocky trails can lead to slips, falls, or even worse. Also, watch out for unpredictable wildlife. A great photo or interesting story is not worth the injury or risk of death. If you have children with you, be sure to always keep them in your sight; do not let them run ahead or lag behind.
The most important thing to remember while planning for a safe trip to Zion’s is that no one is an exception to the rule when it comes to Mother Nature and the great outdoors. If you want evidence of this, check out the Zion’s Search and Rescue Blog. Aimed at informing and warning visitors, this blog records the incidents that happen in Zion’s. These stories should provide enough encouragement to play it safe, no matter your experience.