Outbound Collective logo

Angels Landing

Springdale, Utah

4.7/5
based on 63 reviews

Details

Distance

4.24 miles

Elevation Gain

1488 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Description

Added by Jason Hatfield

The Angels Landing hike in Zion National Park is a steep and challenging approximately 4.25 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 Zion National Park 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+ 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. Please note, a permit is now required for this hike. Use the link near the bottom of the page for more information and to apply.

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 trail head for a couple months in the winter, excluding holidays. Arrive early or late to avoid most of the crowds but be prepared for bottle-necking on the trail during peak season (May-Nov). This should be a little more manageable given the permitting process.

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". The total distance to the summit is approximately 5 miles round trip with nearly 1,500 feet of elevation gain, making it a strenuous hike. The final half mile is the most challenging, requiring scrambling up steep rock faces along narrow ledges with drop-offs over 1,000 feet. Sturdy hiking shoes or boots with good traction are highly recommended. 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.

Be sure to follow marked trails, yield appropriately when passing other hikers, and watch your step carefully around steep drop-offs.

Angels Landing Summit and Climb

The summit can be reached in 3-5 hours for most hikers. Start early, around sunrise, to beat the heat and some of the crowds. The trail is mostly exposed so avoid midday during summer. Spring and fall offer ideal weather conditions. Winter can bring ice and snow, making the trail dangerous. The trail climbs from around 4,450 feet at the trailhead to nearly 5,790 feet at the summit overlook, with incredible views of Zion Canyon's massive rock formations and cliffs. On a clear day you can even see the Virgin River far below.

**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.

Angels Landing Contact and Permit Information:

  • Permits are now required for hiking Angels Landing. The seasonal lottery allows you to choose seven ranked days (or windows) and times when you will be in the park. The day-before lottery is a second chance if you didn't get your dates in the seasonal lottery or if you're looking for a last-minute option. You can learn more about the two lotteries and the application process on the NPS.gov website.
  • For updates on current conditions, visit the Zion National Park Visitor's Page.

Tips for Hiking and Visiting Angels Landing:

  • Restrooms and water are available at the Grotto, but it's best to come prepared with water upon entering the park
  • Bring a small backpack to carry supplies so you have your hands free and are balanced throughout the hike
  • Sunscreen is a must as most of the hike is exposed
  • Wear sturdy hiking shoes or boots with good traction
  • Trekking poles can help with balance on steep sections
  • Start early to avoid afternoon heat and some crowds
  • Pay attention to weather forecasts and avoid if precipitation or lightning is expected
  • Carry plenty of water and snacks
  • Use caution near cliff edges and when passing other hikers
  • Take breaks as needed, the elevation can take a toll
  • Be prepared to turn around if conditions become dangerous

Camping Information:

  • Watchman Campground nearby
  • Backcountry camping accessible via West Rim Trail
  • No camping on Angels Landing
Read More

Download the Outbound mobile app

Find adventures and camping on the go, share photos, use GPX tracks, and download maps for offline use.

Get the app
Download GPX File

Features

Photography
Running
Hiking
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Groups
Scenic

Angels Landing Reviews

Explorer

02/22/17

If you can time it right or you have microspikes and the right gear, going in mid-week in the winter is a great way to beat the crowds and even experience a little solitude. Definitely one of the best hikes in the world.

This is a great hike, it can get a bit hot in the summer months and if theres a lot of people it can take away from the experience but overall as a photographer I loved this hike you can't beat the views at the top!

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

Leave No Trace

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

Nearby

Angels Landing, West Rim, Telephone Loop

Upper Emerald Pool

Lower Emerald Pool Trail

Aid Climbing Moonlight Buttress

Zion National Park Bus stop 8

Hidden Canyon Trail