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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

This is one of those places that I had seen a million pictures of before actually seeing it for myself...Angels Landing did not fall short. Photos don't do it justice, this spot is a must do!

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.

Explorer

03/11/16

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.

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!

One of the top ten hikes in the NP system but you'll have to fight through crowds of people. My favorite time is the fall when temps are cooler and the leaves have started to change.

Tried this hike twice, both around mid-September. First time, with a friend, we did not start early and it got way too crowded - I was not comfortable on the chain section with that many people! For 7 years, it haunted me that I didn't finish it, so I made it back this year. Left my hotel before dark, at the TH by 7:00 and it was so worth it! Great hike, amazing views and not at all crowded. As I'm hiking down around 10am, it was a conga line coming up. Start early! http://www.campfiresandconcierges.com/zion-national-park/

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