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Angels Landing

Springdale, Utah

4.7/5
based on 62 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
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Angels Landing Reviews

Explorer

07/18/16

This Hike is 5 stars if it isn't busy, but if you go in the middle of summer it is miserable. And not because of the heat, but because of all the rude inconsiderate people. Go in the off season.

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.

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.

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.

Explorer

04/01/16

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.

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

Canyoneering Echo Canyon, Zion