Hike Angels Landing, Zion NP
Utah › Zion Canyon Visitor Center
Added by Jason Hatfield
Hike up a steep and challenging trail to one of the most incredible vistas in the world!
Angels Landing has long been one of my favorite national parks hikes. The hike is thrilling, extremely photogenic, and appeals to those who enjoy exchanging leg power for views. The hike to the top isn't long, 2.7 miles, but you'll definitely feel the 1500 feet of gain! The trail features a mostly paved surface (to protect from erosion and high use), steep switch backs, a cool canyon, rock scrambling, safety chains, and plenty of long drop-offs.
This extremely popular hike starts at The Grotto Trailhead where it crosses the Virgin River along the West Rim Trail. Due to the every increasing popularity of the park you'll need to park at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center and ride the free shuttle most of the year; the dwindling off-season allows for parking at the TH for a couple months in the winter, excluding holidays. Arrive early or late to avoid most of the crowds but be prepared for bottlenecking on the trail during peak season (May-Nov).
The first 2+ miles of the trail follow the canyon floor and switchback up the cliff walls. This portion of the hike is mostly on paved trail and brings you through the aptly named Refrigerator Canyon, a welcome respite on hot summer days. You'll also encounter Walter's Wiggles, a fun section of 21 tight switchbacks. It's incredible to see the 1930's CCC engineering that carved a path up through this almost unyielding landscape.
Once you reach Scout's Overlook the real fun starts, the last half mile of the trail follows a narrow sandstone ridge to the summit of Angels Landing. Many people choose to stop at this view once they size up the remaining "hike". This is my favorite part and is actually relatively easy if you're experienced and safe, but it is still very dangerous. You will need to traverse and scramble your way up steep, narrow cliffs with limited safety chains while navigating around other hikers; proper footwear really makes a difference here. You also have the obligation of being safe around others, meaning if you're not in good shape, feel sick, are afraid of heights, or have a small child, you shouldn't be on this part of the trail. If you seize up at a narrow spot on the trail you can create a hazard for everyone else on it.
Now that we have all the warnings out of place and you've made it to the top, enjoy the view and spend some time soaking it in! There's actually a fair amount of space at the top and you can even do a little exploring. When you're finished pack out any trash you find and follow the same way back, it can actually be more challenging going down so pay extra attention to your footing.
*This trail is not advised for young children or those with a fear of heights. Hiking the trail is not recommended in inclement weather such as snow, ice, or lightning, due to long drop offs and extreme exposure. People have died on this hike due to not following these recommendations.
- Running or hiking shoes
- Running or hiking layers
- Lightweight rain jacket if needed
- GPS Watch (although it won't be very accurate in the canyon)
- Water bottles or bladder
- Trail food or picnic
- Digital camera or phone
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ReviewsLeave a Review
Crowds definitely inhibit enjoyment
We went on a Saturday in October 2016. We thought it would be off season but were unaware that Utah schools have a "Fall Break" and they were out in droves all over southern Utah that whole week! That caused Angel's Landing to be far more crowded than we expected. I'm so very glad I did it, it was terrifying and exhilarating and devastatingly crowded with non-hikers who didn't really know how to behave. I would dearly love to do it again, but having done it once, on my second try if it was this crowded I would choose a different hike. I passed on Scout's Landing and went to the top, but I suspect the views from Scout's were *almost* as good without all the new gray hairs I came home with.
This is an absolute must-do for any trip to Zion, and it's worth taking a trip to Zion just for this hike. The climb up the canyon wall is a beast, but the trail itself is incredible in that there are stairs carved into the sandstone walls! And Angel's Landing itself is unlike any other summit you'll find on a hike - the views are beyond spectacular, and the drop is more than enough to get your heart racing. In winter, be sure to bring microspikes for traction, as a lot of the trail ices over - and even with microspikes, I'd think twice (or three times) about stepping onto the landing if there's any ice present.
Talk about an experience. This hike will get your hear pumping that's for sure, both because of the elevation and because of the drop offs. You may be fine with heights but this hike will get your heart pumping a bit, especially when you have 1000 foot drop offs on both sides. Once you get to the top though, jaw dropping. Go early as getting down is the harder part and it usually gets a bunch of traffic later in the day.
One of the most amazing hikes I've been on!
Of all the hikes I have taken in the United States this is definitely in the top 10. It is a difficult trail but by far the most rewarding especially for only a 2.5 mile hike one way! You gain a lot of elevation so give yourself plenty of time before sunset because you don't want to attempt this hike in the dusk/dark. Great post Kristina!
If You Can Only Do One Hike In Zion This Is It
It took me 3 attempts to finally make it to the top of Angels Landing -- because I'm terrified of hikes! The hike is still worth it even if you skip the final chain portion -- a great workout and amazing views. It has unfortunately been getting extremely popular and crowded as of late.
Get An Early Start!
One of my favorite hikes I have ever done in my life, that being said the trail is very narrow up top, and difficult to maneuver with huge crowds. I went in March, coming down was awful do to the amount of people going up. GO EARLY
Amazing but go early!!
I just did Angels Landing a few days ago. We got on the first bus (7am) from the Zion Visitors Center. We were the first few people on the hike and it was awesome. The 21 switchbacks are no joke but it's so worth it. While hiking along the ridge, pay attention and get ready for a bit of fancy footwork. There is plenty of space to comfortably get to the top but once more people show up it gets a bit hectic. Once at the top soak in the glory of this panoramic view!
Crowds crowds crowds
I did it to get it off my bucketlist. Its well worth it for the experience, however, i am not one for crowds. It was more like visiting a shopping mall than taking a hike. Yet, the people watching is quite hilarious.
Best hike in Zion
The exposure is awesome and it makes for a great adventure. I take anyone visiting the area here. It can get crowded especially on weekends and during other peak times. If you are afraid of heights you might not make it.
Overly Crowded Bummer
After reading other reviews and talking to some locals, I was so excited for this hike. Unfortunately, the crowds were just RIDICULOUS, and I went during April which is not a peak time. The views were spectacular, but in my opinion not worth it for the amount of people you share it with. There are so many other hikes with spectacular views that you have all to yourself. The number one issue I had with this was the number of people literally pushing past others. The last .5 miles of the hike is pretty narrow and steep, and you have drop offs on each side. It's plenty wide enough to hike through, but when you have inexperienced "hikers" (I'm using that term loosely here) pushing their way through, it gets a little uneasy. I wish I could've enjoyed this hike more, but the crowds ruined it.
This is an amazing hike... and probably the most dangerous one I have ever hiked. It offers gorgeous views of Zion National Park. Only downside is that it can become crowded from the sheer number of people trying to complete a difficult trail. The last portion out to the landing will take the longest because of this, depending on what time of year you go.
Rewarding Hike, For Sure!
Prepare for the exhausting switchbacks to the top, and the steep cliffs. Probably my scariest hike to date! I highly recommend shoes with good traction. If only I had worn good shoes, I think I would feel less afraid.
Probably the craziest hike I have done to date. Views are gorgeous and the exposure will give you chills. Not as scary as everyone makes it out to be, but still gets you a little nervous. Pretty easy overall hike. The only drawback is the crowds.
Best Hike I've Done
Did this hike on a cross country road and was easily my favorite hike. The views are amazing at the top. Pictures make it look a lot scarier than it really was, but the chains really make you feel safe. Hope to do it again some day.
Angels on the Landing
Kristina suggesting this is an intermediate skilled hike is fairly accurate. Those of you who are avid hikers, or even those in good shape, will most likely find it to be an easy and quick climb. The final 0.5 mi. is the only reason I won't disagree with her classification of the trail. I've hiked Angels Landing over a dozen times and never tire of what the trail offers in the final stretch, once past the switchbacks to the summit. The views of the park are utterly astounding, and for the limited effort there is no other hike in the park that will reward you as much as this one. The only caveat to my review is that I ONLY visit the park in off-season. Certainly my review would differ if my experiences happened to be based off visiting in the summer months. My reason for saying that has to do with several factors. Crowds for starters don't make for nice hiking. To then factor in large crowds of unexperienced hikers biting off more than they can chew, not only creates a bottleneck in the final 0.5 mi. stretch but more importantly a recipe for disaster. 3 - 6 Hours is a long time to allocate to the trail. Typically, with roughly 20 minutes up top, we complete the trail in just over 2 hours. Wife included. If you've never been fortunate enough to hike this trail and visiting the park, put it on your ABSOLUTE, DO NOT MISS list.
Add a little scare to your winter
I've only hiked this during the winter. One year it had fresh snow and a lot of ice, which made it far more enjoyable to admire than climb the final ascent; the other it was clear. I highly recommend gloves for the cold chains. Also, when you get to the top it can get very windy. In the winter that makes it a bit unpleasant. Overall, though, a blast of an adventure. Not particularly scary like I thought it would be if there isn't any ice. It's a routine stop every time I go to Zion.
Go for Sunset
A lot of the reviews suggest heading out early in the morning, I would also suggest starting the hike a couple of hours before sunset for avoiding crowds. The temperature was extremely comfortable and watching the sunset from the top was something I will never forget. After sunset there was still enough light to get down the scary part before it was completely dark. The rest of the hike was easily finished with headlamps. The best part of it- we only saw five other people on the trail the entire time. Absolutely one of my favorite experiences!
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