Phoenix hiking trail closures on excessive heat days aren't stopping all rescue calls from mountains

Several hiking trails in Phoenix will remain closed through the weekend from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. due to excessive heat, and although closures are in place, Phoenix Fire crews made a few mountain rescues because of the heat.

"The whole goal of the program is to protect our first responders from the heat who are susceptible themselves, even though they are well-trained, and to protect hikers from the hottest part of the day," says Adam Waltz with the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department.

In 2021, the city of Phoenix enacted a pilot program, which is now permanent, to close hiking trails during days of extreme heat. The rule applies to Camelback Mountain, Echo Canyon, Cholla Trail, and other trails in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve.

Although closures take effect at 11 in the morning during dangerously hot days, just a day ago, Phoenix Fire crews rescued three people from Camelback Mountain because of the heat.

"If a resident or hiker is on the trial before that 11 a.m. closure starts, technically they can stay on the trail and continue to hike the mountain," Waltz says.

If you're coming out to the trails early morning or in the evening, he says, be responsible.

"Make sure you have a hiking buddy, cell phone, hydrate – drink a lot of water because it sneaks up on you," Waltz said.

In addition to the recent rescues, a woman's body was found at Piestewa Peak on June 10. It's not known what she died from and authorities are investigating.