In 1998, 5 people fell to their death in Grand Canyon National Park, Ten people died of heat related stress on the Canyon trails, and there were over 400 medical emergencies requiring medical evacuation. Don't become a statistic! The Grand Canyon is beautiful but does have it's risks.
Falls: Of all of the fatalities at Grand Canyon National Park, this is the most senseless. Stay on trails at all times. Do not venture to the edge of the Canyon. Although the surface may appear sound, the ground can break away from under you (ever see the Road Runner cartoons?). Do not walk around on the Canyon rim looking through binoculars or your camera view finder, your depth of field is looking through the camera and not reality. You can step right off the side of the Canyon. Watch children and pets at all times. Medical emergencies can be reported to 911 or by using any of the emergency phones dispersed throughout the park and on selected hiking trails.
Heat: Heat can kill. Although both the North Rim and the South Rim of Grand Canyon are rather comfortable, the less shaded South Rim can get hot in the summer. Even if you do not plan to do any hiking, you should wear a hat, carry one quart of water with you at all times, wear sunscreen, and wear sunglasses. If you start to feel nauseated, weak, tired, or feel like you cannot cool down, you are showing signs of heat stress. Listen to your body and get into some shade. Medical emergencies can be reported to 911 or by using any of the emergency phones dispersed throughout the park and on selected hiking trails.
Hydration: Heat plus dehydration can be life threatening. High altitude coupled by direct sunlight accelerates dehydration. While at Grand Canyon National Park you should try to drink one gallon of clear, un-carbonated liquids a day. Do not wait until you are thirsty to have a drink. If you wait to the point you are craving a drink, you have waited too long. Carry at least one quart of water with you at all times. If you plan to hike, you should carry at least one gallon of water with you.
Wildlife: They can seem tame, but every year people are injured by animals at Grand Canyon National Park. Feeding of animals is not only wrong, it is against the law! Animals that are fed learn to associate humans with food, get overweight, and suffer during the winter months when free handouts are not readily available. Even small animals like squirrels can bite. Squirrels can carry rabies and other diseases. Deer can charge and you can be cut by their hooves. Mountain Lions have been spotted in the North Kaibab National Forest. Keep wildlife wild, do not feed, do not approach, and do not handle.
On The Road: Pedestrians have the right of way. Follow the park speed limit. Be aware that traffic in the park can be very heavy so be patient. You experience will be much better if you park your car at the National Park Service Visitors Center at the South Rim and use the shuttle bus service, which is free within the park. Watch for RV's on the narrow roads. People pulling trailers or 5th wheels should go to their campsite first, leave their trailer and then enter the park for an easier and better driving experience. Yield to emergency traffic.
By following these simple rules, you can have a wonderful and memorable time at Grand Canyon National Park, while staying away from the emergency room.