I have been living in Palm Springs since 1999. What brought me to the Coachella Valley was the small town atmosphere, the desert lifestyle, and of course, Mt. San Jacinto and its many hiking trails.
Since I was a kid, I loved to go hiking. It did not matter where it was. It could have been the bluffs along the beach in San Diego (where I grew up), or the Laguna Mountains, which was a one hour drive from my home.
I recently heard the news of a local bartender in Palm Springs who was found dead on one of the local hiking trails. The cause of death has not been determined at this time, but it is not an unfamiliar story. People need to know that hiking in Palm Springs can kill you if you are not prepared.
Here are some tips to make your next hiking excursion in Palm Springs a safe one:
- Water– You need to have a least a gallon of water while hiking. If you cannot carry a gallon jug of water, you might consider using a hydration pack. I use a 3 litre hydration pack and carry a 1 litre bottle of water.
- Cell Phone– Make sure it is fully charged so you are able to call for help if you get in trouble.
- Proper Clothing– The weather in the hills above Palm Springs can dramatically change and it is imperative you have a jacket to keep warm if the temperature drops. Also, wear the correct hiking shoes or boots for the trails.
- Food– Carry fruit, nuts, protein bars, or anything that will give you energy. You will be burning many calories hiking the trails. If you do get stuck, you do not want to go hungry.
- Time of Day– This is the most important tip of all. If it is going to be hot during the day, consider starting your hike early in the morning. Hiking in the heat is a recipe for disaster, and you run the risk of heatstroke and dehydration.
This is just a starting point of conversation regarding the essentials needed while hiking in Palm Springs. I want everyone who visits our beautiful city to have a memorable and enjoyable experience. If you don’t use common sense while hiking our mountains, it can kill you. Take care!