The Hike to Angels Landing, Zion National Park
If you’re up to it and are not scared of heights, this is the hike to do at Zion. Warning: since 2004, six people have died from falling off of the cliffs on this trail. This isn’t a footrace. Watch where you’re walking and take your time.
I started early (well, early for me!) and was at the Grotto shuttle stop at around 8:30am. The trail is 5 miles round trip. It was a pleasant morning–temps not too hot yet. I crossed the footbridge over the Virgin River and I was off on my trek!
You slowly gain elevation for the first two miles on the trail. Then you enter Refrigerator Canyon–a nice shaded section. After that, it’s the grueling “Walter’s Wiggles” – 20+ sharp switchbacks carved into the side of the cliff.
Once you get past Walter’s Wiggles you’re at Scout Lookout. From here there are some great views. I took a moment to catch my breath. This is also a good turn around point if you think you can’t make it any farther.
On to Angels Landing: it’s the last half mile of the trail – but it seems a hell of a lot longer! Maybe because at many points you’re ascending a narrow ridge a few yards wide while there’s 1000 foot drop below on either side. There are chains to grab on to guide the way. Many times I paused and let people down while I was going up (and friendly strangers returned the favor on my way down).
But the view: totally worth it! There are no words to possibly describe it. It’s more than breathtaking. You feel as if you are one with Mother Nature.
I did the trail in around 4.5 hours, pausing a lot of time to take photos. You don’t want to miss this experience at Zion.