Planning a trip through Arizona sometime soon? Whether you’re a longtime Arizona resident or someone who is just passing through the Grand Canyon state, here are some essential things you’ll want to keep in mind.
1. First and foremost, always drink water. Drink more water than you normally do and bring more water with you than you think you need.
Life in a dry desert is no joke. Replenishing with electrolytes is also helpful.
2. However, when water does fall out of the sky, beware! Flash floods happen fast and you don’t want to get swept away while in a canyon, wash, or street.
You don’t want to personally find out why Arizona has a stupid motorist law.
3. Wandering off-trail when hiking can be dangerous! You could get lost, fall down an unmarked mine shaft, or off a cliff.
4. Arizona has THOUSANDS of archaeological sites. Do not remove items from or deface these sites.
Personally, I think you'll get cursed, but that's just me. It's also a very illegal act.
5. While we’re on this topic, the same thing applies to wildlife. Do not feed, disturb, or “save” the wildlife no matter how pathetic they may seem.
Take a picture from afar and let it be. The javelina or baby squirrel will be fine without you.
6. By the way, did you know it’s illegal to damage or remove a saguaro cactus in Arizona? Similar statues also apply to other plants so follow your mom’s advice: look but don’t touch.
7. Watch your step! Tripping over a cactus isn’t any fun and stepping too close to a rattlesnake is something you definitely want to avoid.
It doesn’t help that our snakes blend into the brush and dirt.
8. Pay attention to fire restrictions!
Even the smallest ember from a discarded cigarette butt (which is littering, by the way) can lead to massive wildfires.
9. Pay attention to heat warnings and signs of heat-related illnesses!
Even if you think you’re well acclimated to the heat, doing any kind of physical activity in the summer is like playing with fire. Headaches, fatigue, thirst, and muscle cramps are some of the early warning signs of heat exhaustion, which can lead to heat stroke and death.
10. Pack it in, pack it out everywhere.
Arizona’s seemingly untouched wilderness is what draws many people here but if you leave your trash lying around, it doesn’t take long for it to be tainted. Trash near water attracts animals, which leads to them defecating in the water, and that can cause an E. coli infestation. Gross!
11. Be respectful when visiting reservations or attending events held for Indigenous peoples.
Among the don’ts: don’t wander through the reservation without an invitation or a guide, don’t take photos without asking first, and don't take items from the reservation.
12. Wearing Wildcats gear at ASU could be hazardous to your health.
Or anywhere. 😉
13. Don’t make the mistake of only experiencing Arizona from your car!
This land is too beautiful to just drive by it.