Zion National Park Angels Landing: A Thrilling Hike with Breathtaking Views

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Zion National Park Angels Landing: A Thrilling Hike with Breathtaking Views

Zion National Park’s Angels Landing is a renowned and challenging day hike, featuring a narrow ridge with steep drop-offs of up to 1,000 feet on either side. The hike is 5.4 miles round-trip, with a duration of 2-4 hours, and is considered strenuous due to its high exposure and cliff exposure. Hikers should be aware of the hazards, including slippery conditions when wet, and should not attempt the hike with young children.

Obtaining a Permit for Angels Landing

Beginning April 1, 2022, a permit is required to hike Angels Landing, which can be obtained through an online lottery on the National Park Service’s website. The first lottery opened on January 3, 2022, and permits are issued for specific dates and times. Hikers are advised to enter the lottery well in advance of their desired hiking date, as permits are limited and in high demand.

The Hike to Angels Landing

Zion National Park Angels Landing

The Angels Landing hike begins at the Grotto Trailhead, which is 0.6 miles beyond Zion Lodge on Zion Canyon Road, and is accessed via the tram. The trail features a well-marked West Rim Trail, a bridge crossing over the Virgin River, and a prelude to the main show. The hike gains elevation quickly through a series of twenty-one switchbacks known as “Walter’s Wiggles,” which are regarded as one of the engineering marvels of the park.

Scout Lookout and the Final Ascent

At Scout Lookout, hikers can enjoy aerial views of Zion Canyon and decide whether to proceed to the summit of Angels Landing. The final ascent to the summit is steep and requires scrambling, with heavy chains attached to the rock serving as handrails along most (but not all) of the drop-offs. The summit offers a 360-degree panorama of rugged spires and towering walls, making it a popular destination for hikers seeking a classic photograph.

Hazards and Safety Considerations

Hikers are advised to exercise caution and stay vigilant throughout the hike, as the trail can be slippery and dangerous when wet. It is recommended to bring a camera to capture the stunning views and to share pictures with friends. Hiking poles and sturdy footwear are also recommended for this strenuous hike.

Unique Features of Zion National Park Angels Landing

Zion National Park’s Angels Landing is a unique and iconic hike that offers several distinctive features:

  1. Narrow Ridge with Steep Drop-offs: The hike features a narrow ridge with steep drop-offs of up to 1,000 feet on either side, making it a thrilling and challenging experience for hikers.

  2. Chains for Assistance: The final ascent to the summit requires scrambling, with heavy chains attached to the rock serving as handrails along most (but not all) of the drop-offs, providing an added level of safety and security for hikers.

  3. Breathtaking Panoramic Views: The summit of Angels Landing offers a 360-degree panorama of rugged spires and towering walls, providing hikers with a stunning and unforgettable view of Zion Canyon.

  4. Engineering Marvel: The series of twenty-one switchbacks known as “Walter’s Wiggles” are regarded as one of the engineering marvels of the park, showcasing the impressive construction and design of the trail.

  5. Permit Requirement: Beginning April 1, 2022, a permit is required to hike Angels Landing, which can be obtained through an online lottery on the National Park Service’s website, adding an extra layer of planning and preparation for hikers.

Conclusion

In summary, Zion National Park’s Angels Landing is a challenging and spectacular day hike that offers breathtaking views of Zion Canyon. Hikers are advised to obtain a permit through the online lottery, exercise caution, and stay vigilant throughout the hike. With careful planning and preparation, hikers can enjoy a memorable and rewarding experience on this iconic trail.

References:
National Park Service – Hike Angels Landing
Visit Utah – Angels Landing
National Park Service – Angels Landing Hiking Permits

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