Whether it’s your first time or one hundredth going on a hike, there are certain things you should always consider before starting your adventure. If you are lucky enough to visit Borrego Springs, hiking is definitely one of your go-to’s during your trip. However, you need to adequately prepare for the hot weather and tricky maps to be sure you thoroughly enjoy your experience. Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you are planning a hike in Borrego:

1. Familiarize yourself with the trail

After you have selected your trail, get to know it before you start walking it. Try to collect as much information as possible about the trail to make sure you get the most out of your adventure. Learn if there are any intersections, which will help you avoid getting lost. If you are going to Borrego Palm Canyon Trail, one of Borrego Springs most notable hiking trails, be sure to stop by the Visitor Center. Here you will be able to find maps, obtain useful information and ask questions to the Park Rangers. Getting lost in a State Park is never a good idea, so take prevantative action.

2. Check the weather 

Even if you think it’s predictable, always check the weather before going on a hike. Although it is not very likely that you will get caught in a thunderstorm in Borrego Springs, high temperatures like 115°F are common during the summer months, which can definitely affect your hiking. Exercising in extreme heat can put more pressure on your body. You can become dehydrated, get heat cramps, suffer from heat exhaustion and even a heatstroke. If you are planning a hike, try to schedule it on a day when temperatures are not expected to be too high. You will be less uncomfortable and have a more enjoyable experience.

3. Take your time

Once you are on the trail, don’t rush. High temperatures will tire you faster. You will suffer the consequences by feeling more fatigued and overly sweaty. It is a good idea to take a break every hour or so to avoid getting exhausted. Pick a pace you can maintain throughout the hike. After a while, you will be glad you saved energy instead of rushing through the path. Take your time to appreciate the views, take pictures, and enjoy the experience. That is what you are here for anyways.

4. Leave no trace behind

Beautiful outdoor spaces such as the Borrego Palm Canyon Trail, the Three Sisters Waterfall Trail, and Cedar Creek Falls Trail will only continue to be beautiful as long as visitors take care of them. Feel free to bring water bottles and snacks because you will need those during the hike. However, make sure you properly dispose of your garbage in the designated trashcans. If you do not see any garbage cans, take your trash with you until you see one. Take some time to read the Leave No Trace Principles and follow them.

5. Let someone know where you will be

No matter how many times you have gone hiking, always let someone know exactly where you will be, especially if you are going by yourself. Accidents always happen and it is better to be safe than sorry. You can arrange to meet someone at a certain time, so if you haven’t returned the time you were supposed to, they can contact the appropriate authorites. Another option is to carry a SPOT device, which will track your location and let you communicate via satellite in case of an emergency.

6. Pack the essentials (but keep it light)

If you are going on a hike, there are a few things that you should definitely take with you. First, bring sunscreen because a bad sunburn can ruin the rest of your stay in Borrego Springs. Also, do not forget to also pack your sunglasses to make your hike more comfortable. Just as important as sun protection, bring a map of the trail especially if this is your first time visiting. Bring a flashlight just in case you decided to stay after sunset, some first-aid supplies to be safe, and of course some snacks for when you decid to take a break.

7. Take someone with you

If you are a beginner, you might want to consider bringing a friend to your adventure or maybe joining a group. You never know when you might need help (or someone to take a picture of you). Typically, these type of experiences are more fun when you share them with someone else. A hike is an excellent moment to have great conversations. Going alone can be a great experience as well, just make sure you have a backup plan in case you do need someone for help.

8. Bring lots of water!

This might be one of the most important things to remember before going on a hike. The heat combined with the exercise will make you very thirsty! Make sure you have plenty of water that will last until get back from the trail. If your body does not get enough water under conditions in a desert, you risk your muscles and organs not being able to perform well. You are also more likely to get dehydrated as you will sweat a lot throughout the hike.