So you want to hike the famous Angel's Landing in Zion National Park? We understand! We couldn't wait to check this item off our list. I have to admit though, I didn't do the best research before taking on this hike and I think there are few things you should know about the trail and Zion National Park before heading out. First, Zion National Park requires visitors to take a free shuttle to any of their hiking trails, you may not drive your car. Most people recommend getting their early to beat the crowds and the heat but we're not most people. We got there around 3 pm and still managed to find a parking spot (thanks to those early risers who were already leaving the park).
Tip: The recommended time length to complete Angel's Landing is 3-4 hours. Make sure you'll be back down before the last shuttle.
To hike Angel's Landing you'll want to take shuttle stop 6 – The Grotto. The total distance from the Grotto Trailhead to the Angel's Landing viewpoint and back is 5.4 miles. Once you start at the Grotto Trailhead you'll make your way up a portion of the West Rim Trail, which in my opinion, is the more strenuous part of the hike. It has a very steep incline and a few long switchbacks. It's great to take a break every so often to rehydrate and take in the view. Once you hit the shorter switchbacks, you'll know you're almost to Scout Lookout, which is the beginning of the Angel's Landing Trail.
Checkout our video – Week 14 Hiking Angels Landing in Zion with Friends from Home
Make sure to take a break at Scout Lookout. This is actually a really fun people watching opportunity. You can hear the triumph in the voices who just finished Angel's Landing and the fear in those who are getting ready to start their trek. At this point, I would like to recommend people who have a fear of heights to really reconsider moving forward. This portion of the trail has very steep drop-offs and you get very close to the edge. The trail is lined with chains to hold on to and everyone moves in a single file line. Meaning when it's time for others going in the opposite direction to pass, you'll need to shove yourself in a nook or flat against a rock to ensure they have enough space to go by. We did this hike with a friend who has a fear of heights and once we reached Scout Lookout, she tried to go further but simply couldn't. I can't stress enough, this hike isn't for the faint of heart or those who have poor balance.
Once you get started on this trail, it's important to stay focused and watch your footing. I consider myself to have pretty good balance and there were a few spots that I found myself stumbling. On the way up I kept my head down and focused on my steps. Occasionally looking up to peer over the edge and watch out for hikers on their way down. There are a few spots that are flat and “wide” so you can step aside if you need a break. Once you get to the top, you'll be greeted with the most stunning view. Take your time up there! There were plenty of people sitting, chatting, and snacking.
Remember: If you bring any food or water please pack out all of your trash!
Once you're up there, don't forget to congratulate yourself for completing one of the most strenuous hikes in Zion National Park! The descent was actually extremely easy for us. I think it took us half the time to get down than it did getting up. Going down is a little scarier though because you're forced to look down into the canyon on the descent. Make sure to hold on to the railing at all times and pay extra close attention to your footing.
Angel's Landing is truly one for the books. We can't wait to return to Zion National Park so we can check out more of their awesome hikes. Have you done this hike? Or getting ready to? Let us know in the comments!