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While San Diego County's environments are generally safe, there are some safety considerations that all hikers should be aware of while out on the trails.
While San Diego County's environments are generally gentle and safe, there are some common safety considerations that all hikers should be aware of while out on the trails. As with all recreation activities, preparation is a crucial element to ensure not just safety, but the most enjoyable experience possible. To that end, your choices regarding clothing, footwear, hydration, sun protection, and encountering wildlife will go a long way to assuring a great experience.
Although the climate in San Diego is considered among the best in the world, temperatures extremes do occasionally occur, especially in the inland regions. Summertime temperatures routinely exceed 90 degrees in the inland valleys and mountains, and have been known to exceed 120 degrees in the deserts! Even if it seems relatively cool, bring more water than you think you can drink. In addition, sweating causes your body to lose electrolytes, which can impair muscle function and other important body functions. Drinking electrolyte-rich beverages and consuming salty snacks along with water can help your body remain hydrated.
Many of the county's trails offer little to no shade, which can lead to sunburns and other heat-related injuries. Hikers can stave off the sun’s harmful rays by wearing wide-brimmed hats, light-colored, loose fitting clothing, and sunscreen.
Most of the trails presented here are well-maintained with few physical hazards. However, even on well-traveled trails, you may encounter rocky, sandy, or loose soils on steep terrain that can create treacherous footing. We recommend sturdy hiking shoes, trail-runners, or hiking boots instead of tennis shoes or other casual footwear with minimal tread. We also suggest the use of trekking poles, which can improve balance and help hikers navigate difficult terrain.
While most of the plants in San Diego are harmless, there are a few special exceptions:
Animal encounters are a thrilling experience. Few things are more memorable than crossing paths with a mule deer or a flock of wild turkeys. However, San Diego's environs do contain a few creatures you will want to watch out for:
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