Right now is an excellent season to hike. Though the weather of course varies in different parts, hiking on a warm, sunny day is usually preferable by most hikers. As we roll into May, there’s still some time left to enjoy the outdoors before it gets a little too hot to bear. If you have places you want to backpack through but you’re worried about how scorching they will be in the summertime, then think about doing these hikes before it gets too hot.
1. Arches National Park
As it lies in the exposed desert of Moab, Utah, Arches National Park might not be somewhere you’ll want to be in the middle of a summer heat wave. Though people do do it, those concerned about hiking in extreme weather might want to visit this place before it gets too hot. Arches National Park is famous for having stone bridges, monoliths, and just the overall amazing red landscape. It’s something not to be missed, but to fully enjoy it, get here now!
2. Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park is just a short distance away from Arches National Park, and of course gets just as hot during the summer months. Make no mistake though; as close together as these parks are to each other, they are each incredibly unique. Before the heat gets unbearable, you’re going to want to come here and enjoy the gorgeous carved out canyons reflecting in the Colorado River. Hike on the legendary White Rim Trail, or camp out in the backcountry. Do it now while the weather is nice!
3. Grand Canyon National Park
Like most desert canyons on the list, the Grand Canyon is no exception when it comes to extreme summer temperatures. Though the North Rim is cooler than the South Rim, the entire area can be quite dangerous in the summertime if proper precautions aren’t taken. What makes hiking in the summer here more of a risk is not just the heat itself, but also the isolation of this place. To keep it safe and enjoyable, visit the Grand Canyon now in the springtime. You’ll be glad you did.
4. San Gabriel Mountains
Located up in the San Gabriel Mountains is the famous Bridge to Nowhere hike. While those with a fear of heights might opt to avoid this place at all costs, those without the phobia should still avoid it in the summer. The lack of shade here where temperatures are already very high can pose a risk to hikers, and at the very least might make the entire adventure uncomfortable. You just might prefer to do this seven hour hike when it’s just a little bit cooler. But, for the people who can take the heat, luckily there are refreshing swimming pools at the end of this hike.
5. Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park is hands down one of the most amazing places to see in America, but yet one of the least visited. Texans are already pretty used to the heat down here, but even for them Big Bend’s heat is unforgivable in the summertime. During the summer, temperatures can reach well over 100 degrees, and that certainly makes it hard to visit all the amazing things there are to see in this park. With endless canyons, scenic hiking trails, and beautiful hot springs, you’ll want to come when it’s just a bit safer. Even a day hike during the summer can be dangerous, especially due to the lack of cell phone coverage in the vast desert landscape.
6. Death Valley National Park
Death Valley is known for its remarkable superlatives, hosting extreme weather conditions that you wouldn’t believe. Ultimately, it’s known for being the hottest, driest, and lowest place in North America. With a name like Death Valley, you might not need much warning about hiking here in the summer. It gets so sweltering here during that season that it’s not even recommended to drive through it for more than a few miles at a time. Come before it gets too hot to admire the amazing views, wildlife, and maybe even catch some wildflowers.
7. Saguaro National Park
Hikers might opt for Saguaro National Park due to it being less touristy than the Grand Canyon. However, don’t underestimate the power of the heat in this desert park just because you haven’t heard much about it. Temperatures peak at over 100 degrees in the summer months, and the monsoon season in August leaves a lot of potential danger. Visit this park while you still can to take advantage of the scenery, filled with the truest symbol of the wild west; the striking Saguaro cacti. You might save money staying at the resorts here in the summer, but that’s only because everyone has cleared out to stay safe.
While summertime is often considered the best time to hike, there are some places that should be avoided during the hottest months of the year. To ensure you don’t miss out on them, visit these great backpacking destinations before it gets too hot.