COMPLETE GUIDE TO HIKING ANGEL’S LANDING IN ZION
So how dangerous is Angel’s landing hike? Well according to some sources it is one of the top 10 most dangerous hikes in the United States.
There has now been 9 recorded deaths from this hike. However, I don’t share this information with you to discourage you from going on this hike, but to more warn you of how dangerous it is.
Please do not attempt this hike if you struggle with balance issues, fear of heights, or are not physically fit.
This hike will require lots of focus, very steady legs, and a high level of fitness to reach the very top.
At the top you will be rewarded with 360 degree views and thousand foot sheer drops on each side of you.
If you feel as if you do not have these things then feel free to hike up until the chains portion.
So, how are you feeling? Are you up for the adventure!?
The view at the top is breathtaking. My husband even said this is one of his top 5 favorite places he has ever visited in the world.
I have personally done this hike 4 times now and each time I am in awe! So, I am here to give you a detailed guide of doing the Angel’s Landing hike in Zion National Park.
Planning to stay near Zion National Park!? Check out these 15 best Airbnb’s located near the park!
Details of the Angel’s Landing Hike
Trailhead: Start at the Grotto Trailhead in Zion Canyon
Distance: 5 miles roundtrip: but don’t be fooled this can take about 5 hours due to incline
Elevation Gain: 1500 feet
Best Season for this hike: Spring or Fall. Summer can get dangerously hot
Getting to the Trailhead
First question you may ask is, how do I get to the trailhead? Well, during peak season you have to take a shuttle to get to certain places in the park, including the Angel’s Landing hike.
At first, I was annoyed by this, but then I realized it actually makes it really nice. You don’t have to sit in traffic in the park and it makes the park look nicer without all the cars.
Be prepared to spend at least an hour getting from the entrance of the park to the actual shuttle drop off spot for the Angel’s landing hike.
You will get off at shuttle stop #6 otherwise known as The Grotto.
Use the restrooms prior to starting your hike, but also know that when you reach Scout’s Landing, a portion of the hike where most people choose to stop. there are also restrooms.
For reference, here is a great map of Zion National Park with the hikes and shuttle stops.
Alright! Ready to start the climb!? Cross the road and walk over the bridge until you get to an intersection. From here, your hike begins.
The Beginning of the Hike
The trail follows the West Rim Trail and it is an open and wide path. You will follow the river and then cross over the canyon bottom, through some switchbacks and up to the Refrigerator canyon.
The beginning of this hike tricks you into thinking it could be easy. It starts off quite flat and you will have a view of the actual Angel’s Landing right in front of you.
Don’t be fooled. The hike gets steep very quickly.
You begin your uphill climb on a well-maintained trail and then it quickly turns into switchbacks.
This area of switchbacks is quite exposed to the sun, so make sure you are wearing a hat and sunscreen for extra protection.
Once you have finished this portion of the switchbacks, you will reach Refrigerator Canyon and finally get some shade.
You may think you are done with the switchbacks, but you are not. Next up is the infamous Walter’s Wiggles!
Walter’s Wiggles on the Angel’s Landing Hike
This is a series of 21 switchbacks that are very short and narrow. You will gain elevation quite rapidly.
Power through these! It goes quickly because they are such short switchbacks.
Once you finish the Wiggles you will reach the top of the ridge, also known as Scout’s Lookout.
Just look in front of you from Scout’s Lookout and you will see the looming ridge ahead.
This is a popular spot for many people to stop out, which is completely fine to do by the way.
Even you are choosing to head up the rest of the way, Scout’s Lookout makes for a great rest stop/snack stop. Make sure to fuel up on water and snacks before finishing the hike.
You want to have steady feet and hands for this last portion.
If the weather is sketchy, please do not attempt to go further. Stop here and just admire the views from here.
This is a great 2-day guide to spending time in Zion National Park.
Chains up to Angel’s Landing
The last ½ mile of Angel’s Landing hike is most definitely the “scariest” part of the hike.
If you dare, you will climb the ridge whilst holding on to chains for dear life. You will be exposed to 1000 foot drops on each side of you while using the chains as support to climb up.
This part of the trail can become super crowded, which makes it unsafe at times. So, again if it appears to be too crowded please either wait it out or re-schedule your hike.
I recommend that you hold on to the chains at all times. That is why they are there.
Plan for it to take about one hour to reach the top due to having to climb up with the chains and at times wait for traffic to pass by.
However, once you reach the top the view will have been so worth it!
The peak of Angel’s Landing
You have made it! If you are anything like me your knees are shaking and your heart is beating. For some reason, each time I do this hike I become more and more scared.
Maybe I am just getting older, but I swear it gets scarier. It can also be quite windy at the top, so plan to bring a windbreaker jacket and be careful when walking as you are completely exposed.
When at the top you will have 360 degree views of Zion National Park. You can look down the valley and see The Great White Throne and the Spearhead.
Tips for the Angel’s Landing Hike
-Make sure to bring LOTS of water, especially during those hot summer months.
-Use the restroom at the trailhead, but if you need to go again there is one at Scout’s Lookout
-Wear hiking boots: Make sure you get some with good tread to help grip to the rock when climbing the chains portion.
-Go Early! The earlier you go the better. You will save yourself from the heat and the crowds!
-Do not hike in a thunderstorm
These are some of my favorite items to pack for a day hike. Check them out below. These are great for any day hike!
- Hiking day pack backpack: I got this backpack off Amazon for my Patagonia trip and have loved it!
- Reusable water bottle: Never forget water! This is so important.
- Sun Hat: I love my Patagonia hat as well as my Nike hat. Just make sure to bring something to protect your face
- Sunscreen: I like using the COOLA sunscreen because it has clean ingredients in it.
- Hiking Boots: I love the KEEN Terradora boots, but I plan to buy the Danner Mountain 600 hiking boots because they are so cute and have great reviews.
- Light Jacket: Currently obsessing the Patagonia R1 Pullover
- Snacks: My current snack obsession is grazerbars and they have the cutest logo and a bar for the morning, afternoon and nighttime
Final Thoughts from your Outdoor Loving Girl
I love hiking, yet this one always scares me, but it gets my adrenaline going and I love that feeling too! Do I recommend this hike? Absolutely! Just know your limits and stay safe!
You can also always make this trip to Zion a road trip adventure through the southwest! You will have a wonderful time visiting so many of the National Parks.
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