You may have seen the news yesterday about a hiker who fell to her death at the Grand Canyon. It’s truly heartbreaking to hear about these kinds of accidents. And that’s exactly what it was: an accident. She was’t taking a selfie, she was simply letting another hiker pass by when she tripped. Awful.
My thoughts are with her family and friends at this time.
Thankfully this sort of thing doesn’t often happen (I may have googled that stat the first time we visited!), but there is the chance it could happen.
When a tragedy like this occurs, it might be a good opportunity to share some gentle reminders about safety tips while visiting the national parks. And I’m in no way insinuating that the hiker didn’t follow these steps, but felt it might help others who are making their first Grand Canyon trip this summer.
Safety Tips For?Visiting the Grand Canyon
We’re big fans of National Parks travel in my house. My family has traveled to the Grand Canyon about six times over the past three years, and each time we are simply stunned by its beauty.
It’s easy to get carried away with wanting that perfect shot?or just to get a little closer to the edge to look down. I know I’ve been guilty of pushing the limits myself.
Not quite as guilty as my former Army Ranger husband, mind you, but I’ve certainly gotten too close to the edge to consider it safe.
This is obviously NOT safe. DO NOT DO THIS.
Keep Your Distance
This is an obvious safety tip number 1. Even the most surefooted of hiker can trip, slip, or make the wrong move and end up tipping over the edge. If you give yourself a little buffer, you can protect yourself just that much more.
You should stay about 6 feet?away and be mindful of the railings. Do not climb or stand on them, or lean too far over them if you are tall enough. Please don’t lift small children up either.
PLEASE don’t do this. I might have a mini heart attack if I see it happening.?
Yes, we all want to take a picture of the moose, elk, deer, bear, etc. that we would never see in our neighborhoods back home. I get it.
But we also need to remember that they are wild animals, and we are in their home. If they feel threatened, bad things can happen. The National Parks Service recommends staying?at least 75 feet (23 m), or about six arm lengths from the wildlife.
If you must take pictures, choose your shots?carefully, and ideally from a distance. This one was taken from the car at a stop sign. No elk (or people) were harmed in this picture.
Keep?Your Children Close
I know this one is not easy, especially when they want to hike and explore. But it’s important that they understand and respect the trail and the limits as well. Having fun is important, sure, but safety is vital.
We chose to put our littlest one in a backpack for the first trip just to be extra safe. She was able to walk and didn’t need to be carried, but we were visiting the biggest hole in the world and decided it was probably best for all involved that she was contained with an adult.
My father, the constant worry wort, especially appreciated this touch.
You’re welcome, Dad.
Be Mindful of the Weather
Most people equate the Grand Canyon with a hot Arizona desert climate, but you’d be surprised to know it can also experience harsh rains and snow. Elevation and all that.
Even in May, you can get snowed on at the Grand Canyon, as we discovered two years ago!
Prepare your vehicles for the weather and make sure your gas tank is topped off. Be sure to bring sunscreen, water, and an umbrella for summer visits and warm clothes for those winter and late spring trips.
I’ll also add to bring extra cell phone chargers. The reception may be spotty, but if you are in need of assistance a dead battery is worse that low reception.
Above all else (showing my age a little bit here with a Hill Street Blues reference): hey, let’s be careful out there!
Do you have a Grand Canyon trip planned this year? ?
Patty Holliday is a Marvel loving, Disney obsessed wife, and mother of four. She’s a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)