AUSTIN (KAMR/KCIT) — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department wants to offer safety tips for those who are visiting State Parks and hiking trails during the summer months.

For park visitors and hikers, the TPWD wanted to offer these tips as temperatures reach triple digits in areas of the state.

  • Hydrate– It is important to drink at least 16 ounces of water every hour in the heat to replenish your body and prevent dehydration. Don’t forget to bring enough for pets as well.
  • Block the Rays– Apply a generous amount of sunscreen or sunblock before heading outdoors. Be sure to reapply every couple of hours, and after swimming or sweating.
  • Dress Smart– Wear light, loose-fitting, breathable clothing; a hat, correct shoes, sunscreen, and wet bandanas to keep you cool while in the sun. For pets, protect paws against blistering by hitting the trails during cooler times of the day when the ground isn’t hot or by putting booties on pets to help shield paws from the hot ground. Touch the pavement or ground with the back of your hand. If you cannot hold it there for five seconds, the surface is too hot for your dog’s paws.
  • Stay Salty– Food helps keep up energy and replace salt lost from sweating. Eating snacks such as jerky, granola, trail mix, tuna, and dried fruit is a fantastic way to nourish your body while on the trails.
  • Buddy System– It is beneficial to have someone with you in hot conditions so you can look after each other on the trail. With high temperatures hitting Texas, heat-related illnesses are common, and having a friend around to help recognize the early symptoms can save you from getting sick.
  • Plan Ahead– Study the map and have it with you, avoid relying on your phone for maps since service may be unavailable in rural areas. Average hikers move at two miles per hour, so allow yourself plenty of time to avoid hiking in the heat of the day. Make sure to rest in a cool or shaded area to recover from the heat if necessary. It is also a good idea to let someone know your plan before you hit the trails and what time you should be back. That way, if you become lost, people know where to look.

The TPWD said that dogs are also susceptible to the heat, so bringing enough water and snacks to last the entirety of the trip can will help keep them safe as well.

According to TPWD, in 2021, 43 state parks reported 102 heat-related illnesses in people and pets, and since January 1, 2022, 54 heat-related incidents have been reported so far compared to the 34 reported at around this same time last year.

More information about heat safety can be found here.

Reservations at Texas State Parks can be made online here or by calling the Texas State Park Reservation Center at 512-389-8900 on weekdays during normal business hours.  Overnight reservations can be made up to five months in advance, and day passes can be reserved up to 30 days in advance.