Winter Hiking

Finally, it's getting chilly here in the southwest. This is a time when you can see more wildlife and actually be safer in the desert, as long as you're prepared. It's a great time for those sundown hikes catching a sunset at the top of a hill.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you head out for those beautiful desert hikes.

  • 1. FOOTWEAR. As always wear sturdy hikers. We've seen some terrible ankle problems this year from hikers wearing tennis shoes. The terrain here requires a supported hiker. We have a saying, No Hikes in Nikes.
    Socks made with Moreno wool will help with wicking, keeping you blister free.
  • 2. WATER. It's still dry. You'll still need ample water! Figure on a liter per hour or so to be safe but as always, do not go out without 2 liters Minimum in your pack!
  • 3A. INSULATION. With later hikes people find themselves coming off a mountain top later or in the dark. Temperatures drop fast and significantly as the sun sets. Be prepared with an extra fleece or light jacket and cap to throw on for the return trip. A little insulation goes a long way.
  • 3B. LIGHT. Coming down in the dark is no fun with some light to help navigate the rocks. Throw a headlamp or flashlight in your bag with good batteries.
  • 4. THE 10 ESSENTIALS. Have the 10 Essentials with you in case you get caught by the unexpected; a small kit with first and last aid that can get you thru the night is a must if you didn't pay attention to #1 on this list and wind up snapping an ankle or something.
  • 5. PLAN. Plan your route and stay within your ability. Tell someone where you're going and when you'll be back to check in.

Jon Mincks
Desert Survival Specialist
AHS Rescue/The Arizona Hiking Shack

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