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Local News

Unpredictable Hiking Weather During Arizona Summers

Credit: iStock

Mohamed Bughrara

Hiking in the summer demands extra preparation and care, especially as the rainy season continues.

Starting early is essential and not just because the temperature is at its coldest first thing in the morning.

The National Weather Service reports that the afternoon hours over mountainous terrain and across lower deserts are when thunderstorms and rain are most likely to occur. Lin Chao, President of the Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, stated that she likes to finish hikes before 3 p.m.

The state’s arid ecosystems have a limited capacity to absorb rain, which causes runoff to travel through the state’s steep hills and confined gorges.

It’s not advisable to cross streams or washes after a flash flood warning.

Another post-storm event that Chao is aware of is humidity. The air will become more humid as it rains more frequently. This is a change from the Sonoran’s typical dryness, which could surprise hikers.

More sweating caused by humidity necessitates more replenishment, and occasionally, drinking more water does not solve everything.. Chao  claimed that electrolytes must be consumed in the form of tablets, nutritional supplements, or sodium-rich liquids.

A couple of trails that are recommended that are less hot than other of the Valley’s well-known locations.

One is the climb to Pine Creek from Payson’s Tonto Natural Bridge.

Another recommendation is the Red Rock State Park. The park in Sedona contains a 5-mile network of looping trails that connect to one another.

Another beautiful spot where the peak is 20 degrees colder than the base is Mount Lemmon.

The summer months are slower for park visitors than the months of September and October, according to Arizona State Parks and Trails.