Rangers Warn Visitors The Great Outdoors Can Be Dangerous During Summer

Rangers at Joshua Tree National Park are urging visitors to take extra safety precautions when visiting the park during the summer season due to high temperatures, extreme ultraviolet rays, and harsh exposure.  

Visitors should plan ahead, be prepared and bring extra food and water, consider going on shorter hikes and use extreme caution. Hiking in the middle of the day, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. when it’s the hottest, is not recommended.  

 “We ask that park visitors consider taking advantage of shorter trails closer to sunrise and sunset, stargazing under the dark night sky, and visiting the park’s visitor centers and exhibits,” said Anna Marini, coordinator for the Joshua Tree Preventative Search  and Rescue (PSAR), a volunteer team that specializes in visitor education. “Please keep rescuers and yourself safe.” 

PSAR members spoke to nearly 2,500 visitors at trailheads and on the trails in June. Three hundred contacts identified significant safety concerns, with PSAR members suggesting the visitors use different shorter trails, be better prepared with food and water,  and take additional safety precautions to minimize risks.

Joshua Tree’s Search and Rescue Team (JOSAR), an all-volunteer team, responded to four incidents involving heat illness in June between the peak heat hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Two of these were on trails longer than two miles, including 49 Palms and North  View Trail.  

Temperatures in the triple digits have already been recorded in lower elevations. The park can see temperatures as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit. There is no water or shade inside the park. Hiking in extreme heat can lead to serious health risks, including  heat stroke, hyponatremia, and death. Signs of heat stroke can range from nausea, vomiting, headache and/or cramps, weak and rapid pulse, high body temperature, confusion, unconsciousness and/or seizures. The health effects of heat exposure can happen to anyone.  For more information on how to visit the park safely during the summer, please check out the webpage

Visiting in Summer—Joshua Tree National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)


A man and woman hiking the trail on a mountain ridge.

Photo from Alpha Media Portland OR