A COVID-19 Dilemma: To Hike or Not to Hike?

About three weeks ago (at the beginning stages of home quarantine due to the COVID-19 Corona Virus) the local Phoenix hiking trails, were loaded with hikers.

In fact, Pyramid Trail on South Mountain not only had the entire dirt parking lot packed with nothing but a few inches separating the squished vehicles but a long straight line of never ending cars, trucks and SUVs seemed to cling tightly to the 40th street curb, the only other option where parking is allowed.

This was at around 4pm on a Sunday night. On a typical Sunday night, this lot would probably only be about half full. But these are no longer typical times.

The very next day while sheltering in her New York apartment, Meghan McCain the daughter of the late Arizona Senator, John McCain had caught glimpses of Phoenix’s crowded hiking trails. She put out a warning to all Arizonians to take the COVID-19 Corona Virus, threat more seriously and take shelter in place.

She sent us this warning from a place of kindness and caring.

But, that’s not to say that she really pissed off a lot of hikers with her comments.

And it seems that after this moment – social media, the news and other hikers began an all-out war as to whether we should be out along the hiking trails. Like those college students on the beach in Florida, now Phoenix was having its own local dilemma with opinions flying around everywhere.

The next weekend, hiking trails were more crowded than ever. People who had just fulfilled an entire week staying inside now desperately sought fresh air, relief and of course nature. It’s a human necessity.

While Meghan’s words seemed to do little to declutter the hiking crowds, a few hikers purposely seeked out more remote and unpopular trails, in order to have some distance from one another.

Yesterday, our Governor Doug Ducey, proclaimed that Arizona will be a stay at home state at least until April 30th, but he let us know that we could leave the house to go outside to exercise…. which includes hiking.

During this time frame, exercise and outdoors are essential. The mental and physical attributes can mean the difference in positive spirit during this unique time.

However, do you risk possibly infecting someone or having someone infect you?

To Hike or Not to Hike? That is the question.

How do you guys feel about it? Thoughts about whether to hike or not? Let your voice be heard in the comments below.


  1. It is possible to hike/run/walk and stay far enough apart.

    In the past week, I’ve run four times and hiked once. When I’ve been outside my car, the closest I’ve been to anyone else is 200 yards and in that case the other person was in their car with the windows rolled up.

    1. That is the best scenario to be in. I’ve started hiking at 5am to avoid the crowds but by 8am the trails are so full of people that it’s impossible to create that space apart at all times.

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