Grand Canyon National Park Hiking Emergencies

There are no easy trails into or out of the Grand Canyon! Over 250 people are rescued from the Canyon each year. The difference between a great adventure in Grand Canyon and a trip to the hospital (or worse) is up to YOU - follow the rules of smart hiking and - DO NOT attempt to hike from the rim to the river and back in one day, especially during the months of May to September. Stay hydrated (drink plenty of water and electrolyte drinks) avoid hiking in the heat of the day (10am to 4pm) eat often (carbohydrates salty foods) rest often (sit in the shade) get wet (wet your shirt, hat, wear a wet bandana around your neck) DO NOT attempt to hike down to the river back in one day Grand Canyon's Inner Canyon (below the rim) is a place of extremes. Hiking below the rim requires preparation. Each season brings its own hazards, and all trails below the rim are steep and precipitous. Read the Hiking Tips section, know what weather conditions to watch out for, and know how to prepare for summer hiking . Then get information on South Rim day hikes or North Rim day hikes . The park strongly recommends that you not attempt to hike from rim to river and back in a day. This is a strenuous two-day journey for most. In summer extreme temperatures can be life-threatening. Rangers respond to an average of 400 medical emergencies each year. Search and rescue operations are often difficult and expensive due to the remoteness of all Inner Canyon trails. During the summer months, when inner canyon temperatures are extremely high, access to inner canyon trails may be restricted to early morning and evening. Information on trail restrictions and trail closures is available at (928) 638-7888 (press 1-3-1).

Trouble on the Trail Occasionally, true emergencies occur in the backcountry. Never abandon someone who is in trouble! Call for help, use your signal mirror, or send a message with another hiker. Almost all emergencies can be avoided with proper forethought and, when closely examined, are not truly critical and can be resolved by those involved. If someone asks you for help, try to obtain the following information: nature of problem, number of people involved, physical description of people involved, and the location. Rangers are prepared to respond to problems of all kinds and will, if available, provide a necessary and appropriate level of assistance. Evaluate your situation rationally and thoroughly before requesting help. Helicopter evacuations are an ambulance service ONLY. Evacuations are very expensive - costing at user's expense $2000 or more per flight. Flying a helicopter in the canyon is risky, given the uneven terrain for landings and the odd wind currents. We take it so seriously that full leather boots, flame resistant gloves, flame resistant flightsuits, and crash helmets must be worn by every passenger.

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