How to Prepare for a Hot Summer in Zion National Park
Summer has arrived here in Zion National Park! With the dog days around the corner, it’s important to be prepared for Zion’s summer heat. Summer is Zion’s most popular season and this summer in particular will offer great prices.
Extreme Heat in Zion
The CDC warns that all heat related illness and death is preventable. Regardless, about 658 people succumb to extreme heat each year. Zion National Park is in Southern Utah on the borders of the Great Basin, Colorado Plateau and Mojave Desert. This area is extremely hot and dry in the summer months.
July is the warmest month in Zion National Park at an average daily high of 100° fahrenheit. Humidity in the Park is approximately 30% in summer months. Zion’s dry heat can be deadly and requires special attention and preparation.
Examples of heat-related illness include sunburn, heatstroke, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat rash. Heat-related illnesses arise when the body is not able to cool down properly or sufficiently. The body regularly cools itself by sweating, but sweating is always enough, especially in Zion. If your body doesn’t cool sufficiently, the body temperature begins to rise and can even do serious damage to the brain and other vital organs. Remember, heat-related illness should be taken very seriously.
Preparing for Zion’s Summer Heat
Zion is already very hot in the summer as it is, and this summer is projected to be warmer than usual.
Start by checking the weather forecasts for your visit. Next, bring water, water, and more water! There are several water refilling stations throughout the Park. Check the map before you go.
- Visitor Center (Shuttle Stop 1)
- Zion Human History Museum (Shuttle Stop 2)
- Zion Lodge (Shuttle Stop 5)
- The Grotto (Shuttle Stop 6)
- Temple of Sinawava (Shuttle Stop 9)
Always wear sunscreen. You never know how long you’ll be outside and it’s easy to underestimate your time. It’s very easy to sunburn in the Park and even if not a serious sunburn, it might make your trip less enjoyable than if you hadn’t gotten sunburned.
It’s also important to wear the right clothes. The recommended clothing is lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothes. If you’re driving in the Park, NEVER leave children or pets inside parked vehicles. Parked vehicles can get extremely hot and can be deadly.
Signs of Heat-Related Illness
It’s important to know the signs of heatstroke and heat exhaustion. When someone is showing these signs, don’t hesitate. Some symptoms of heat exhaustion or heatstroke include
- Heavy sweating
- Muscle Cramps
- Cool, moist skin with goose bumps
- Flushed skin
- Slurred speech
- Weak, rapid pulse
- Low blood pressure upon standing up
For more information on heat exhaustion and heatstroke, see this article.
How to Respond to a Victim Heat-Related Illness
When someone is showing signs of heat-related illness, stop what you are doing. Calmly move to a cool, shaded area. If serious, call 9-1-1 or a Park Ranger. While waiting for emergency responders, provide the victim with drinking water. Try to cool the person down with water. Pour water across their forehead, on their clothes, in their hair and more. If necessary, remove excess clothing.
Remember to stay calm and try and help the victim relax. Of course, do your best to prepare for these situations by wearing the right clothes, drinking lots of water and staying within your physical limitations.