If you are heading to Zion National park , i can bet two things – 1) You want to hike up the Narrows 2) You want to conquer Angels Landing. As long as I have known or heard about Zion National park , these 2 have been the defacto classic hikes in Zion. If you are thinking why is Angels Landing so popular , let me draw you a picture. Imagine a narrow ridge , just enough for 2 people to cross, chain assisted rock scrambling sections where if you lose your balance or focus you can die but then if you reach the top stunning views welcome you. Yes this is a vertigo inducing , thrill seeking hike which is not for the people with a weak heart , specially those who fear “Heights”. But if you are brave enough and have good physical stamina ,you will love hiking up Angels Landing. SO lets get started – Hiking the Angels Landing – Zion National Park ….. special edition ( things to know).
Best Season to hike :
I have to say spring or fall. I attempted this hike in late October and the weather was perfect. If you intend to do it in summer , you will have to start really early in the morning.
Things to Bring :
1)Hiking Shoes – this is not a flip flop ,crocs or canvas shoes kind of hike. You will need good hiking shoes.
2) Water – Cannot stress it more , but for this hike you will need plenty of water. There are no water filling stations or taps along the way and there is literally little to no shade in the entire hike. So carry plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
3) Hat – This is one hike where you will need a hat to protect you from the sun.
4) Sunscreen – Even if you plan to start the hike early morning , by the time you will descend – you will have sun glaring at your face , so do carry sunscreen.
5) Hiking Poles ( optional) – You may carry hiking poles with you but you can only use them while hiking up the west Rim trail. From Scouts Lookout point to the Angels Landing , you cannot use the poles as you will have to hold chains along the narrow ridge to reach the mountain top. If you plan to carry hiking poles , you can leave them at Scouts point and pick them on your way back.
What to Expect :
Distance: 5.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 1500 feet
Length of Time: 4 to 5 hours
To hike up the Angel’s Landing you will start at Grotto Trailhead , the 6th stop for the Zion Canyon Shuttle. The whole hike has 4 main parts. You will start hiking at west rim trail. It will be easy in the start but later it gets very steep till you reach the Refrigerator Canyon. This is the only part of the hike where you can catch some shade. So take some rest , catch your breath and drink some water before you proceed. As you hike further , you will reach Walter’s Wiggles , a set of 21 switchbacks which will get your heart pumping and legs and thighs burning. This is one point where you will look up to the people coming down and asking – How far is it ? 😛 …. But do not worry. As soon as you finish Walter’s Wiggles , you will reach Scouts Lookout. It is a nice little viewpoint from where you can get a good look at Angels Landing and the main canyon below. If you need restroom , you will find portable toilets in the corner.
But now the real fun begines. The last 500 feet climb is not for the weak hearts. I am not exaggerating. There have been 18 deaths in Angels Landing. So if by this point you feel fatigued , do not attempt the hike up the spine. There are many exposed and narrow sections where it will require some technique and strength to pull through the chains. After a fair amount of hiking and scrambling , you will reach to the final view Point or as i say ” Angel has landed ” 😛 . The view from the top is absolutely breath- taking. You can enjoy a 360 degree view of the entire valley and if there are some clouds in the sky , you can get some dramatic shots.
Once you have enjoyed to the fullest , and took your near to perfect shots , head back. You will have to climb down the same way as you climbed up. Catch you breath at Scouts Lookout point again and head to the Grotto trail head. And once you reach the trail head say –
I HIKED TO ANGELS LANDING AND SURVIVED ( DIDN’t Die)!
- If you have fear of heights , please do not attempt this trail.
- Keep an eye on the weather. Do see the weather for the day when you start your hike. This is not a place where you will like to be stuck in a storm or in rain.
- Since it gets very hot , start your hike early in the day. As early as possible. I will suggest to take first shuttle of the day. You can look for shuttle timings here .
- This is a very narrow trail , so please be courteous of people passing you by. There is not much room for error.
- For photography lovers , try reaching the top by 8 or 8:30 or attempt the hike in late afternoon. Either case the light will be soft with one side of the canyon cast in shadow and you will get some nice shots. Mid day or afternoon are the worst times for photography.
- The top of the mountain has a very limited space. Be courteous about amount of time you would like to spend as others might be waiting for their turn.
- Know your physical limit. This hikes requires good level of fitness. If you feel fatigued by the time you reach scouts lookout , give yourself enough rest before proceeding. Once you are on the spine, it is a very strenuous and times even technically challenging. This is not to be underestimated.
- Most importantly – you will need both your hands empty to hike up the spine. DO not keep anything in your hands like hiking poles, go pro stick or camera. Hang them in your neck or carry them in your bag.
- Carry your eatables, water and other essentials in a small shoulder bag. There is no room for big hiking bags on the spine.
- You will have to carry everything you bring in. So follow leave no trace policy and carry your trash out.
- Its very disheartening when you see names carved on red rocks or decorative cairns just everywhere. Please be considerate about future travellers , and leave the place as you found it – Untouched and non – vandalized.
So here it is – all you needed to know to hike up the Angels Landing.I did this hike with my parents and they loved it. They only went up till Scouts lookout point and I was really happy that they knew their limit and did not even attempt the last section of the hike. How was your experience. Did you reach the top ? Do share your experiences in the comments below. Thank you so much for stopping by.
So what do you think ? Would you attempt Angels Landing?