Public Safety

Hikers Reminded to Stay Safe in the Heat

As the weather warms up, residents are looking outside at all San Diego County has to offer from beaches to deserts to mountains. But once summer is fully upon us, the season’s high temperatures mean you need to take some important precautions, especially if you’re setting out on a hike.

Every year, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department airlifts medically distresssed or injured hikers off arduous trails. Tragically, some of those people don’t survive. Rescues happen throughout the year, but most often during the summer months in popular hiking destinations, such as the Three Sisters Falls and Cedar Creek Falls trails.  

It’s important to take careful steps when hiking in the heat to avoid getting lost, hurt, dehydrated, sick or worse.

Below are some safety tips from rescuers hikers should consider before they hit the trails:

  • Let someone know where you will be and when you plan to return
  • Hike with others, never alone
  • Leave your dog at home for difficult hikes
  • Take plenty of water to stay hydrated – one bottle is not enough
  • Wear sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses
  • Take breaks in shade, if possible
  • Take a fully charged mobile phone, map and/or GPS
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, ventilated clothing
  • Bring along a warm jacket if you plan to stay out after dusk
  • Wear sturdy shoes with traction for slippery rocks
  • Follow all posted safety rules
  • Bring ample food, sunscreen to reapply, flashlight, first aid kit, multi-purpose tool or knife and a whistle
  • Know your limitations. Choose trails that match your level of physical fitness and areas where you are not going to get lost

For more information on hiking at Cedar Creek Falls, watch the San Diego Sheriff’s and U.S. Forest Service’s short video below from 2013 or this safety reminder.

Melissa Phy is a multimedia designer with the County of San Diego Communications Office.