How to Stay Cool in Grand Canyon

“We knew it would be hot, but we didn’t think it would be this hot.”

Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism guest near Phantom Ranch in Grand Canyon

Though this particular guests’ quote is their own, variations of this are heard regularly on the trail, not only on our tours, but in general.  The heat of the southwest can be downright oppressive, almost stifling during midday heat in the summertime.  Many of Blue Marble’s hiking tours in Grand Canyon, Utah Canyon Country, Death Valley, or Havasu Falls are in the arid southwest, where 90 degrees in early April is routine, and triple digits are seen quite often during the popular summer months.  If your timing is a bit off, if you are a desert hiking novice, or you simply underestimated the heat of the midday, this article is for you.

Many folks choose to hire a backpacking or hiking guide for just this reason; they can quite simply be the difference between the ultimate adventure of a lifetime, and a perilous rescue situation.  As you explore our wonderful desert paradise here in the American Southwest (with us or without us!), our Goat wants to be sure that you are doing it safely, and that your unforgettable adventure is unforgettable for all the right reasons!

With the busy hiking season approaching, The Goat thought it best to dole out his best tips and tricks for staying cool, even when it seems impossible.  Here are our Top 3 ways to beat the heat on the trail:


1.  Early Boots Get the Worm

We are often on the trail as early as 4am during the warm months, and no later than 6am.  Does this seem like some ungodly hour?  It does to us too, but you will see the benefits later in the day.  An early start allows you to not only beat the heat, but you will also typically have the trail to yourself, have a better chance to see wildlife while you’re hiking, and be relaxing in camp instead of hiking during the heat of midday.  Trust us; it may seem ridiculous when it’s that early, but there’s no doubt you will swear by it soon enough.


2.  Don’t Flip, Take a Dip

When you see water, get in.  Most water that you find along the way in the southwest is there because it’s in shade, it’s seeping from the ground, or it’s about to be gone.  Being wet in the southwest is a very good thing, as our legendary dry air quickly evaporates moisture, creating a great cooling effect.  Ever wonder why everyone in Arizona has a pool?  Maybe they’re onto something.

3.  Just Eat It!

Many people grossly underestimate how much food they need when its warm; problem is, you don’t really feel hungry when it hot outside.  However, you need to keep eating, as it both fuels your body’s natural cooling abilities, and can help you regulate your fluid intake.  Interestingly hyponatremia, or a glut of water, is a leading cause of wilderness debilitation and happens nearly as often as dehydration.  Be sure to eat plenty of food, and regulate your water intake at a healthy pace.

All of our guides are medically certified as Wilderness First Responders, and have years of backcountry experience that can be invaluable to you as a backcountry traveler in recognizing symptoms of hyponatremia, dehydration, heat exhaustion, and even heat stroke, which can be a serious issue.  What’s great here is, all you need to do is engage in what is likely already a favorite activity; snacking!

With these three things in mind, you will get a great jump on a fabulous time in the wilderness, and not need to worry about running into a potentially shady (or un-shady as it might be) type of situation.  See you on the trail!

Going Guided

Hiking and exploring Grand Canyon, or any of the National Parks, is a special experience.  Although it is possible to see these places yourself, hiring a guide is a great idea.  For instance, guiding services provide logistical support, and plan everything for your best possible trip.  They provide a great safety net on the trail, and are trained in backcountry medicine. Above all, they provide a depth of knowledge of the region that turns a walk into a true adventure.

Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism provides all of the support you need, and pairs that with expert geologist/guides.  Our backcountry meals use fresh ingredients, and are planned by a professional chef.  Furthermore, we provide top-of-the-line gear and passion for the places we explore.  In conclusion, you can visit National Parks, but going with a guide can create and even more memorable experience.  Don’t be shy, and call us!

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For adventure hiking vacations in a geologic time machine, see our epic tours in Grand Canyon, Utah, and Arizona!

For geological musings read The Goat’s geology blog.

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Explore Further, Be Wild, See Through Time — Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism