There's Been A Drop In Heat-Related Rescues On Phoenix Hiking Trails. Here's Why

By Thalia Lopez
Published: Monday, September 20, 2021 - 2:24pm
Updated: Tuesday, September 21, 2021 - 9:30am

Two months ago, the city of Phoenix closed most of its popular hiking trails during the excessive-heat warning days. Camelback and Piestewa Peak trails were closed starting July 16 in efforts to prevent hikers and first responders from heat-related injuries.

Between Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak, there were 23 total rescues before the closures were implemented. First responders have also been among those taken to the hospital due to excessive heat exhaustion while rescuing hikers. 

Phoenix Fire Department Cpt. Todd Keller shared the importance of smart hiking. 

Camelback Mountain Echo Canyon Trail
Tim Agne/KJZZ
Hikers on Camelback Mountain's Echo Canyon Trail in April 2017.

“And it really allowed the public that knows that, hey, ... you're putting yourself in danger, and you're putting the first responders in danger when you go out during these extreme heat," Keller said. 

Since the closures, there has only been a total of 11 rescues between Camelback and Piestewa Peak.

The closures are set to end on Sept. 30 and, after seeing a successful decline in rescues, the Parks and Recreation Board will discuss if implementing these closures again next year will be possible.