Grand Canyon issues safety warning for excessive heat, wildlife

NPS reminds drivers to be on the lookout for wildlife that may be taking refuge in shady areas near roadways.

Photo/NPS

NPS reminds drivers to be on the lookout for wildlife that may be taking refuge in shady areas near roadways.

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for parts of Grand Canyon National Park below 5,000 feet, including Phantom Ranch and Indian Garden.

Forecast temperatures in the shade range between 105 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius) and 116 degrees Fahrenheit (47 degrees Celsius).

Hotter than normal temperatures will also hit the rims, with highs of 97 degrees Fahrenheit (36 degrees Celsius) on the South Rim and 91 degrees Fahrenheit (33 degrees Celsius) on the North Rim.

The National Park Service (NPS) recommends not hiking below the rim during the excessive heat warning. Hiking in extreme heat can lead to serious health risks including heat exhaustion, heat stroke, hyponatremia and hyperthermia. Anyone who still plans to hike into the canyon should take extra precautions. Hikers should plan to hike before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. and rest near shade and water to avoid the worst heat of the day. The NPS also advises anyone hiking in excessive heat to balance food and water intake, drink when thirsty, consume salty snacks and get wet to stay cool. More information about hiking smart in the heat is available at https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/hike-smart.htm.

NPS officials recommend all visitors to Grand Canyon ensure they are drinking plenty of fluids, resting in shade during the heat of the day, watching for signs of distress in traveling companions and dressing appropriately for the weather, which includes loose-fitting cotton clothing.

Summer also marks the time of year elk cows give birth to calves. Elk cows protecting their calves can become aggressive toward humans. The NPS reminds visitors to view elk and all wildlife from a safe distance and never approach, pet, or pose for a picture with wildlife at Grand Canyon. To safely view large animals such as elk, maintain a distance of at least six arms’ lengths (75 ft/22 m).

NPS also advises drivers to pull off the road completely and safely to view wildlife and avoid motor vehicle accidents and traffic jams. Since elk and other wildlife may be lying in shaded areas near roads, rangers caution drivers to watch closely and drive slowly in the vicinity of wildlife.

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