Piestewa Peak and Camelback trails in Phoenix are closed during extreme heat | Arizona News
PHOENIX (3TV / CBS 5) – The extreme heat is back this week, and the city of Phoenix is testing its new policy, shutting down popular valley hiking trails for much of the day. Last month, the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board approved a pilot program, closing trails on Piestewa Peak and Camelback Mountain during extreme heat.
Trails on Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak will be restricted from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.
The city chose these mountains because of their difficulty, and they have had the most rescues. It comes after two firefighters were hospitalized in June after multiple mountain rescues in the extreme heat. Just days ago, a woman from out of town died while hiking Camelback Mountain.
“If that saves firefighters from going up there and people who shouldn’t be there, then sure,” said hiker Greg Rose.
Rose spent Tuesday morning hiking Piestewa Peak before the mountain closed from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The hope is to prevent anyone from hurting themselves by closing popular trails on days of extreme heat.
“If I was a local and this was something I did on a regular basis, yes I would be upset, but at the same time you have to watch for everyone,” said Chris Edwards, who hiked Piestewa Peak . before the trails close.
Lots of people hit the trails before 11am despite a hot day.
“It’s not bad because it’s a dry heat,” said Ryan Gist, who is here from Iowa, visiting the trails. “Once you start to sweat and there’s a little breeze, it doesn’t get too bad.”
Rangers turned back several cars on Tuesday and closed the door to the main Piestewa Peak parking lot.
“Got down here just as quickly, I guess. Get out of the heat and get out of here before they shut everything up,” Rose said.
A spokesperson for the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation said citations could be given to people who break the rules. It would be a Class 1 offense, with a fine of up to $ 2,500 and 6 months in jail. Park rangers said they didn’t want to give anyone a ticket and would prefer it to be educational. The city said no citation was issued on Tuesday. As for other hiking sites in Phoenix, the city has said it is not looking to close them, at least for this year.
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