Hike This: Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park
Have you hiked Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park? It’s one of the iconic adventures you see captured on Instagram that does not involve a permit or specialized gear. It takes you from the canyon floor, up switchbacks, and along a route that involves holding onto chains to keep you from falling off a cliff. It’s strenuous and can be crowded, but the views are a must-see for visitors.
Zion NP is one of my favorite National Parks. Alex and I have visited the park several times and can be considered park evangelists with how we gush about the park when we talk to our friends and family. It is the park I recommend to folks who don’t consider themselves very outdoorsy or aren’t interested/able to tackle long or strenuous hikes in order to see beautiful parts of a park. I love that Zion is breathtaking from the moment you enter the park and there are experiences for everyone.
You would think I happily tackled Angel’s Landing on my first trip to the park but after seeing plenty of photos of overcrowded trails and knowing that not all park guests understand that there is actual danger in parks, I had zero interest in heading up to the iconic perch overlooking the canyon.
And then it happened.
We joined some friends for a quick weekend in October and Angel’s Landing was on the agenda for the weekend. I didn’t want to be a spoil sport so I pulled on my leggings, grabbed my favorite daypack, and headed to the trailhead.
We took the shuttle to the trailhead and made sure to use the restrooms available near the dropoff. Keep in mind that this is a heavy-use trail and nowhere for you to water a tree, use the facilities before getting on the trail.
And then it was all up, up, up. Up the exposed path, through the shaded canyon that brought us to the bottom of the Walter’s Wiggle switchbacks, across Scout lookout, and along the ridge to the very end. I’m glad we started relatively early in the morning because the weather was warm for late October and it really warmed up as we headed down the trail.
If you’re worried about your ability to get to the top or if you’re short on time but want to get some great views of the canyon, let me tell you this: you don’t need to go all the way up! In fact, there are some fantastic vistas before you get to Walter’s Wiggles. You can get your views and your cute Instagram selfie without dedicating extra time to make it to the top!
The views from the top are fantastic but know that the thrill of clinging to the ridge isn’t for everyone. Don’t pressure anyone in your party to continue toward the endpoint if they seem extra nervous or straight up tell you they don’t want to continue. There are plenty of people enjoying the shade and ranger program from the Scout Landing area so you won’t be alone while you wait for the rest of your party to make the trek to the end.
Some things I didn’t realize:
- The trail is mostly paved. That is, until you reach the split in the trail (Scout Lookout) where you can head up to West Rim Trail or continue to Angel’s Landing
- Scout Lookout has (vault) toilets available
- There was more scrambling involved than I anticipated! Since I don’t work out very often I was reasonably sore the next day
At the end of the day, the trail is straightforward and you can buy plenty of souvenirs in the visitors center after you make it to the top to remember your grand adventure. This hike may be more interesting to those who don’t want to get rentals to hike up the Narrows but want to check a “must do” item off of their visit checklist.
Links to Angel’s Landing Resources:
- Trail Report from Hike Speak
- Zion National Park official website
- Angel’s Landing eHike (requires Flash Player)
- Trail Overview from Visit Utah
Have fun and be safe!