If you’ve got a heart for adventure, the American Southwest will more than satisfy.

Steeped in geological and human history, the desert southwest is a treat for adventurers and travelers alike. With an abundance of hiking trails, single-track, and world class climbing, it’s about time we all started planning a trip to canyon country. Keep these Southwestern travel tips in mind for the arid and sometimes volatile desert landscape.

Check the Weather

Southwestern Travel Tips: Plan for weather

Photo by Jordi Ganduxe on Unsplash

If there’s one thing Canyon Country is notorious for it’s flash flooding. Most marked trailheads heed warnings for flash flood potential, and it’s serious business. In the most rare scenarios, a storm can begin two or three hours east or west of the desert, and trickle down to the slot canyons without much (if any) warning. Local ranger stations will have the most up to date Southwestern travel tips, so check one out to receive updates on flood potential for the day of your hike.

Take a Map

Despite the massive benefits of technology, that iPhone X won’t do much good in the service-less backcountry of the American Southwest. Bringing a map as you venture deeper into desert country not only gives you a better idea of the surrounding landscape, but could make a critical difference when you’re asking your friend, “Where was that last cairn?”

Pack Appropriately

southwestern travel tips for packing

Photo by Zach Betten on Unsplash

While most think of the desert as arid and unreasonably hot, nights in the desert are commonly 30 to 40 degrees cooler than daytime temps. It only gets worse in the off season. A bluebird 60-degree day can easily turn into a 20-degree night. Pack accordingly with more layers than you think you need. And definitely opt for your warmest sleeping bag.

Bring an Empty Memory Card

The American Southwest is one of the most photographed, and iconic areas in the country. From sweeping vistas, to Wingate sandstone, to starry nights, and epic sunsets, you’ll easily come back with a memory card full of epic photos.

Also, Put Down the Camera

southwestern travel tips at the grand canyon


Here’s one of the best Southwestern travel tips: open your eyes! Some of the most philosophical moments arise in the desert. Standing at a viewpoint, overlooking land that is consistently being shaped by natural phenomena, can make you think about life in a whole new way. There’s maybe no other place in the world that can simultaneously make you feel small and also part of something bigger.

If you’re looking to plan a trip to the Utah’s incredible desert, consider our friends at MountainBased. Their family-owned business and incredible guides will take you on the adventure of a lifetime.


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