Angels Landing, Zion NP

Hurricane, Utah

4.6/5
based on 57 reviews

Details

Distance

4.24 miles

Elevation Gain

1488 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Description

Added by Jason Hatfield

The Angles Landing hike in Zion National Park is a steep and challenging 5+ mile out-and-back trail to one of the most incredible vistas in the world! This hike is best done in the shoulder seasons (Spring and Fall) when the temperatures are a bit more mild.

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.

For updates on current conditions, visit the Zion National Park Visitor's Page

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Features

Photography
Running
Hiking
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Easy Parking
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Scenic

Reviews

I did this just this past weekend and had no problems with crowds at all. Rent Yaktrax and Microspikes from Zion Adventure Company in Springdale for $7 and $10 respectively, and 50% off that rate for subsequent days. This is a steal and they proved to be invaluable on the last 0.5 mile if you don't have them or didn't want to pack your own. The snow definitely adds a magical touch to the landscape! One of my all time favorite hikes, this hike and Zion have a special place in my heart

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.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Nearby

Photographing the Sunset at Canyon Junction Bridge

Camp Under Zion's Watchman

Drive the Zion Canyon Scenic Dr

Canyoneering Pine Creek Canyon, Zion

Hike the East Temple Saddle Loop

Canyon Overlook Trail