Each summer, many people hike into the Grand Canyon on steep, rugged trails. Most expect a strenuous trip, but they might not expect it to be so hot.
When it’s 80 degrees Fahrenheit on the rim of the canyon, it can reach over 100 degrees down inside.
“Losing altitude puts you down at lower ground and therefore is warmer,” says Meghan Smith, Grand Canyon National Park’s preventive search and rescue supervisor.
She says heat can radiate off the narrow, inner rock layers of the canyon and create dangerous conditions for hikers.
Park staff conduct hundreds of search-and-rescues each year, many of which are heat-related. And in some cases, heatstroke has been fatal.
As the climate warms, the risks will increase. But park staff do not want to close trails or keep people away.
“It is their public land, and we want them to enjoy it and enjoy it safely and come back in the future,” Smith says.
So the park has a team of volunteers and employees who can help in an emergency.
So people learn how to stay safe from the heat, while enjoying the canyon’s spectacular beauty.
Reporting credit: Stephanie Manuzak/ChavoBart Digital Media