Back in June (2012), I made the trip from Las Vegas, Nevada to Zion National Park to hike Angel’s Landing. A friend had told me about how amazing it was and researching it online confirmed that I simply had to check it out.
When I arrived at Zion National Park, I parked in paid parking (maybe $10 or so) in a shopping area right by the entrance ($12 good for 7 days). When you’re in Zion, at least this part of it, you have to ride a shuttle bus to the areas you want to go. The system works well and reduces vehicle congestion, noise and pollution.
The hike begins across the road from the drop-off point which has bathrooms and water spigots. It follows the river, winds up steep switchbacks and then levels out in a narrow canyon. Then you head up another set of steep switchbacks called Walter’s Wiggles which end at Scout Lookout.
At this point, you’ll finally get off the paved trail and onto some soft sand with scrub brush everywhere.
At Scout Lookout, you’re greeted with a sign that warns you of the last section to the summit which goes along narrow paths with steep cliffs on either side. It’s the best part of the hike, but this section weeds out those who are afraid of heights.
While there have only been 5 fatalities in about 100 years, people have questioned its safety. I think they should be more concerned that more Americans die in 2 hours (on average) from driving than have died in 100 years of hiking Angel’s Landing. I believe it’s as safe as any other physical outdoor activity you could do.
Just be cautious, especially when the trail is crowded. On the narrow ledges, communicate with the other hikers so you know who will pass who and don’t be afraid to yield the right of way.
Angel’s Rest Vital Stats
- 2.4 Mile Long Trail (One-Way)
- 5,790 ft (1,760 m) at Summit
- 5 Fatalities Due to Falling (in ~100 years)
- Cute squirrels and chipmunks (DO NOT feed them)
- The best, and most dangerous, part is the last 0.5 miles.
- Excellent views up and down the canyon.
- Entry Fee and Details
One thing to be aware of is that the metal chains are baking in the sun. So, on hot summer days, like the day I was there, the chains will get hot. If you’re a morning person (I’m not), it might be a good idea to hit the trail early especially if you think you’ll be holding onto the chains a lot.
Here’s a video of the hike (that I wish I had made).
It wasn’t the hardest hike I’ve done but it was one of the funnest. I liked the area where they have the chain railings. It’s pretty awesome to look just to the side of you and see open air. Even if that’s not for you, the view at the peak is well worth the effort.
Zion National Park is ridiculously beautiful and definitely a must-visit park. I’ll need to go back at some point to do the Narrows and some of the longer hikes. Visit the park website to download a free hiking guide (.pdf file).