1. Bring lots of water and drink it. It is a good idea to plan for a gallon of water per person, per day.
2. Never put your hands where your eyes can't see. A snake or scorpion might be on top of that ledge just above your head.
3. Don't sit on a cactus. It makes a spikey seat.
4. Don't get lost. Bring a compass and a map, and a cell phone if you have one.
5. Hike with a buddy, and stay on the trails.
6. Wear light-colored clothing and a hat to reflect the sun. This will help keep you cooler.
7. If you hear a rattling noise, it is probably a rattle snake. Although they are poisonous, they won't bite if you know how to react. First, STOP. Don't make any sudden movements to scare the snake. Stay calm. Second, LOOK. Find out where the snake is. Third, MOVE SLOWLY away from the snake, or let the snake move away from you. If the snake is on the side of the path, it is ok to pass the snake and keep going down the trail, but do it slowly.
8. Any time you are hiking in the desert, tell someone where you and your buddy are going, and how long you will be gone.