Is a trip to the Grand Canyon or Petrified Forest National Parks in your travel plans? If so, don’t forget to pack a set of proper hiking clothes that can be worn while walking the many trails found in these national parks.
Our family recently wrapped up a Route 66 vacation which included a week in New Mexico and Arizona where we did a bit of hiking. We’re used to hiking in the high desert and wore the proper clothes for our walks but were certainly in the minority. Many of the people we saw struggling along the trails weren’t dressed properly nor had bothered to bring water.
If you plan on taking your family hiking on your vacation, remember that walking around the Grand Canyon or the Petrified Forest isn’t like a walk in your neighborhood back home. The higher elevation and clean air means an increased risk of sunburn which is why wearing sunscreen is a must. Here are some other tips to help you dress for walking in Arizona’s National Parks.
Wear proper footwear
Even though many national park trails are paved and ADA friendly, there will be times when you will find yourself walking through gravel beds, up sandy slopes, or over rocks. While you don’t need to rush out and buy actual hiking boots for the family (unless you are planning some serious hiking), at the very least, you and kids should wear lace up, over-the-ankle walking shoes with a thick pair of socks. Good shoes will prevent you from losing your footing. They’ll also protect your feet from sunburn.
Weather can change quickly out on a hike which is why layering is also a must. Our family layers a light weight, light colored shirt over a tank top, with a hooded windbreaker on top of that. While you don’t need to layer for a short 15-30 minute loop trail, we recommend it for any walk that will be longer than an hour.
Hats and sunglasses
It’s very possible to sunburn your eyelids with refracted light, especially in areas where there isn’t much vegetation. Hats and sunglasses can protect the eyes from glare and the upper part of your face from sunburn.
Take a day pack
Every time our family jumped out of the car, no matter how long or short the walk, our day pack always came along with us. A day pack should hold water and energy snacks, sunscreen, a small first aid kit, and a map of the trail. Even though it may seem like a person shouldn’t get dehydrated on a short, one mile trail, you’d be surprised at how quickly the dry desert heat can zap the energy out of your family.
Walking the many trails that can be found in Arizona’s National Parks is great way to get a closer look at these natural wonders. Making sure that you and your family are outfitted properly for walking these trails will make the experience more enjoyable.