Hiking is one of the best ways to see all that Zion National Park has to offer. Walking along the natural landscape provides an up-close view of everything that makes Zion so beautiful. Hikers may choose to explore the rocky terrain, hike along the canyon and mesas, or traverse the Zion backcountry. Every area of Zion National Park has something special to offer to hikers.
One of the most dangerous things visitors to Zion do is assume that hiking is a completely safe, easy activity. While hiking is a generally simple activity, with most of the journey focused on walking along different landscapes, it can be tricky. From being mindful of natural hazards to understanding the body’s limits, there is so much to know before setting out on a hiking adventure. The following tips for safety while hiking in Zion National Park are a great start to ensuring a safe, fun, and memorable hike along some of the most beautiful views Utah has to offer.
Be aware of surroundings
While surrounded by incredible views, it’s so easy to get lost in the new and different world that is Zion. After all, becoming one with nature means getting lost in its beauty. While it’s okay to lose track mentally, it’s never a good idea to get lost physically. It is extremely important for hikers to always be aware of their surroundings and have a good idea of their location. Losing track of their location puts hikers at risk for wandering into unsafe areas, hiking for much longer than they were prepared for, and, worse yet, being lost in the park after nightfall. Depending on the conditions and a hiker’s experience, getting lost on a hike could turn into a life or death situation. Minding location throughout the journey is the best way to ensure a safe hike.
Know personal limits
There are times when testing the body’s boundaries and pushing the limits are great ideas. During a hike in Zion National Park is not one of those times. New and experienced hikers all have different limits and capabilities. It is important for each hiker to assess their individual skill and plan a hiking trip according to what they are capable of. The desire to keep up with a crowd or see a certain area of the park is never worth the risk of a serious injury. Instead, working up to longer hikes over time, and then embarking on a big journey in Zion National Park may be a better idea. Adhering to personal limits is an important part of a safe hike.
The natural rock formations that make Zion so beautiful can harbor some unexpected dangers to hikers. The rocky terrain creates obstacles that stretch throughout the park. Shifting rocks, eroding cliffs, and unseen crevices all pose a threat to hikers if they are not paying attention. Anticipating each step along the way is a vital part of getting back to base safely.
Steer clear of wildlife
An often-overlooked danger of hiking in Zion National Park is the wildlife in the area. While the animals of Zion generally prefer to avoid human contact, hikers who stumble upon wildlife without knowledge of how to handle the interaction could find themselves in trouble. One of the more serious dangers is the threat of venomous rattlesnakes. While bites from these snakes are rare, dealing with a rattlesnake improperly increases the chance of a bite. When encountering rattlesnakes, or any wildlife, it is best to avoid it, do not threaten or injure it, and, if it’s a dangerous animal like a rattlesnake or large mammal, report the encounter to park officials. Using this tip helps keep wildlife and visitors safe during Zion National Park hiking.
Keep an eye on the weather
Weather plays a big role in the way Zion National Park is experienced. While it is usually quite beautiful and mild, there are weather conditions that pose a threat to hikers. Any weather extremes, like high or low temperatures, should be something hikers are aware of ahead of time. High temperatures result in an increased risk of dehydration and exhaustion for hikers, especially inexperienced and ill-prepared ones. Hikers who go out in colder temperatures run the risk of hypothermia and exposure.
Not every weather risk has to do with the temperature. Flash flooding is another serious weather risk that is dangerous, and potentially deadly, for hikers in Zion National Park. By watching the weather reports and planning hikes accordingly, the chance of getting caught in dangerous weather decreases dramatically.
Stay safe and hike on
Hiking is an activity that provides so many wonderful benefits. Hikers can get great exercise, see beautiful scenery, and explore new and exciting places. Hiking doesn’t require a lot of gear, so the restrictions on who is able to hike are limited. Basically, those who can walk long distances will enjoy hiking in Zion National Park. Though there are some dangers to be mindful of during a hike, those should never stop people who love the outdoors from enjoying a nice hike. By being aware of the potential dangers, and following the above safety tips, hiking can be one of the most exciting, memorable experiences taken away from Zion National Park.