The Angel’s Landing hike in Zion National Park culminates in amazingly beautiful views of Zion Canyon, but you will need to earn this fantastic pay-off.
Chris & Mac
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Length: 5.4 Miles Round Trip
Trailhead(s): Shuttle Stop #6 – The Grotto
Elevation Gain: 1,488′
Trail Type: Point to Point
Permit Required? Yes – $6 application fee (for up to 6 people) plus $3 per person permit fee. Permit program starts 4/1/2022. Follow this link to for permit application/permit: Recreation.gov
Considerations: $35 Fee to Enter Zion National Park, Steep Climb Along Narrow Spine Required to Reach Top, Not for Small Children, Not for Those with Fear of Heights
Season: Year Round – Best in Spring and Fall
The Angel’s Landing hike in Zion National Park culminates in amazingly beautiful views of Zion Canyon, but you will need to earn this fantastic pay-off. The hike involves a steady climb in open sun, many switchbacks, and navigating rocks (and people) along a narrow spine up to the Landing. Even with all that, those who complete the hike will be blown away by the adventure and what they see. This hike is definitely towards the top of the list for best hikes in Zion National Park.
To get to the trailhead, take the shuttle to the Grotto stop. Cross the street and head up the West Rim Trail. You will follow this trail for about 2 miles. The trail at the beginning of the hike is a little disappointing, as it is paved. The pavement is a necessary evil, however, to deal with erosion due to the steepness of the slope. Be prepared for heat during the early part of the hike, as you will likely be in direct sun.
After a steady climb and a number of switchbacks, you will enter Refrigerator Canyon with walls on both sides of the trail. The temperature drops fairly significantly here, so take a break and cool off before moving to the next stage – Walter’s Wiggles.
Walter’s Wiggles is a series of 21 tight switchbacks that will prove to be a real leg burner, even if you are in excellent hiking condition. Just remember it is not a race to the top, so take your time if the switchbacks prove challenging for you. When you finish the switchbacks, you will arrive at Scout Lookout and get your first view of the climb above you to get to Angel’s Landing.
Looking at the climb to Angel’s Landing can be intimidating and you should be cautious. Pay heed to the posted warning signs, as people have died here doing this hike. If you are not comfortable with heights or unsure whether you can navigate the climb, you may want to sit this out and wait for your group to return from the top. If you are comfortable with what you see, strap yourself in because what comes next is a blast!
From Scout’s Lookout, the climb to Angel’s Landing covers about 500 vertical feet. There are chains to assist you on a good deal of the climb and in the sketchiest places. Some spots are very narrow, with the trail only a few feet wide and sheer drop-offs of hundreds of feet on both sides. For me, this is the type of adventure I love and I had a blast. For others who were hiking at the same time, however, the fear was too much and they turned back.
The traffic flow to and from the top is two way. This means that people need to be courteous and patient as hikers with varying skill level try to navigate the terrain and pass each other. Because this hike is one of the most popular in Zion, it is virtually impossible to avoid hiking here without a crowd. Even if you are the first hiker to the top, you will have to navigate the crowds coming up while you are descending. My advice is to bring your patience and remember to be courteous. This aspect of the hike is not my favorite by any means, but if you want to see the view from Angel’s Landing (which is not to be missed if you visit Zion), it is a reality you will have to embrace.
After navigating the climb, you will arrive at Angel’s Landing. The views of Zion Canyon and the surrounds are mind-blowingly gorgeous. Spend some time up here and soak in the views. Have a snack and take a bunch of pictures – you’ve earned it! I can’t tell you how floored I was by the raw beauty of the scenery. After you are done experiencing the Landing, enjoy the trek back to The Grotto – it’s all down hill.
Clearly, the hike to Angel’s Landing is not for everyone. For those who are comfortable with the heights, the rock scrambles, and the crowds, however, it is a must do hike in Zion National Park. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did!
Scroll down to learn about the GEAR WE USE and OTHER OUTVENTURES in this area.
- Zion National Park Service Information:
Angel’s Landing Slideshow
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