An Amazing Hike up to Angels Landing

Angels Landing in Zion National Park provides a little danger, thrills and some stunning views. It’s not a walk for uncontrollable children (we’ve all seen them) or those scared of heights.

While only a five mile roundtrip it usually takes five hours to complete due to the steepness of the trail and the technical element involved in the last half mile.

Two days prior while mountain biking Gooseberry Mesa during the middle of the day I’d gotten seriously dehydrated and heat exhausted; to avoid a similar occurrence we started our walk at 7am. An early start allowed us to get to the top, admire the view and be back on our way down before it got too hot.

The first section from The Grotto shuttle stop is a paved path which winds its way up into Refrigerator Canyon. Coming down we saw a mother pushing a pram up this section; it’s certainly a steep path but doable.

The Path - First Section up to Angels Landing

The Path – First Section up to Angels Landing

 

The second stage is a relaxing walk through Refrigerator Canyon, also paved.

Through Refrigerator Canyon - Second Section up to Angels Landing

Through Refrigerator Canyon – Second Section up to Angels Landing

Third is a paved path up a steep 1930′s engineering feat known as Walter’s Wiggles. Again you could probably push a pram but it would be punishing. This takes you right up to Scout’s Lookout where the official scramble to Angels Landing begins.

Up the Second Winding Path - Third Section up to Angels Landing

Up the Second Winding Path (Walter’s Wiggles) – Third Section up to Angels Landing

 

There is a sign stating that six people have died by falling off the cliffs leading up to Angels Landing since 2004. The route follows a scarcely vegetated narrow sandstone ridge with near vertical drops on the left and right, 1200 and 800 feet respectively. Chains fixed to the rock provide handholds along particularly hazardous sections along with occasional cut-out steps to provide better footing. Just to be clear this final stage up to Angels Landing is not suitable for those afraid of heights, and certainly not for prams. Take your time, be courteous to other ‘scramblers’ and enjoy the walk.

Tip: Gloves (with good grip and finger dexterity eg. biking gloves) make handling the chains easier; especially when the metal gets hot during the day

Reach Angels Landing Sign at Scout Lookout - First Stage Completed

Reach Angels Landing Sign at Scout Lookout – First Stage Completed

The Route to Angels Landing with Englarged Section

The Route to Angels Landing with Englarged Section

The Start of the Final Section to Angels Landing

The Start of the Final Section to Angels Landing

Climbing Up to Angels Landing

Climbing Up to Angels Landing

Renee Found Some Shade Near the Top

Renee Found Some Shade Near the Top

On the top of Angels Landing you have magnificent 360 degree views of Zion Canyon. In 1916 early Zion explorer Frederick Fisher pronounced “only an angel could land on it,” congratulations, you’re now an angel.

The View up Zion Canyon

The View up Zion Canyon

Renee Relaxing on the Edge

Renee Relaxing on the Edge

Renee at the Edge of the Big Bend

Renee at the Edge of the Big Bend

Looking Straight Down from Angels Landing

Looking Straight Down from Angels Landing

Looking East from the Top

Looking East from the Top

Renee and I (Looking Down Zion Canyon) from the Top of Angels Landing

Renee and I (Looking Down Zion Canyon) from the Top of Angels Landing

Looking Down Zion Canyon

Looking Down Zion Canyon

In Zion Canyon - Looking Down it

In Zion Canyon – Looking Down it

 

Two more images:

Taking a Photo of Zion Canyon and the Big Bend

Taking a Photo of Zion Canyon and the Big Bend

Renee took a sneaky photo of me taking a photo

The Photo (Showing Big Bend and Route Up Zion Canyon)

The Photo (Showing Big Bend and Route Up Zion Canyon)

and here is the photo I took (above).

Going down you’ll probably feel more confident but remain vigilant and you’ll survive to tell the tale.

Renee Starting the Descent from Angels Landing

Renee Starting the Descent from Angels Landing

The Path Up (and Down) Angels Landing

The Path Up (and Down) Angels Landing

Descending Holding the Chain

Descending Holding the Chain

 

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What is your favourite hike? What slightly dangerous, kinda thrilling hike have you done?

Comments

  1. I don’t believe six people have died on that hike. But then looking at some of the drops I can see how. Did it feel really dangerous?

    • We were certainly high up and the canyon walls are steep, there is certainly an element of danger and for me that added a layer of thrill but it did not feel really dangerous. There is a well worn route to the top and chain hand holds where you need them.

    • I don’t know about this place, but i know that at half dome in CA the fatalities usually occur when unexpected bad weather moves in quickly. Mix high winds with wet rocks and less then experienced hikers, and accidents are bound to happen.

      • Hi Tony, thanks for your input. Yes believe this would make sense for Zion as well. Only other thing we thought of to account for the fatalities was freak health incidents like heart attacks.

    • I live in St. George which is a little over 50 miles from Angels landing. I’ve been here for a while now and I can remember hearing of 3 deaths and know of 2 others recorded by the National Parks Service.

      • Gosh, do you remember what they thought the cause of death was? We felt that while there was a possibility of falling, it’s probably not something that would ever happen to someone who was being careful and sensible unless they passed out or had a heart attack or something similar.

        • I’m not entirely sure about all of them but I do know that one was a lady pushing her husband off and, according the the NPS, two were “loss of footing”.

  2. Do you know what part of the hike that people fell from?

    • No, we never found out where or why some hikers fell off. Renee and I discussed it and we think you could only fall if a) you were doing something inappropriate and careless or b) you were unlucky enough to faint or have some other medical condition at an unlucky time.

  3. I’m so glad we did this walk first thing in the morning!! By 9am it is already feeling unbearably hot.

  4. nice guide.
    does the weather permit us to get up to angels landing at the end of Jan.?
    will it be too cold or snowy for the trail?

    • Thank you. I understand Angels Landing walk is open year round however they will close the trail (I certainly imagine the last section) when snow or ice is present.

      I would check the local weather forecast to give you a rough idea & then call the park service before you make any definite plans.
      Zion National Park
      Springdale, UT 84767-1099

      Phone:
      Visitor Information 1-435-772-3256

  5. Thanks a lot. :)
    I enjoy your plagground quite much.

  6. You can try this place in China if you enjoy the thrill of height.
    Mount Hua. You wont be disappointed. :)
    http://www.panoramio.com/photo/64483514 , an obsolete plank road.

  7. Great photos. I loved the hike to Angels Landing as well but was surprised at how much of it was paved…and those seemingly never ending switchbacks. My favorite part was at the very top. I’m not afraid of heights, but it was very narrow.

    • Thanks for your comment Laurel. I too was surprised by how much of the walk was essentially wheel chair accessible. The last stretch up to the top certainly offered an adrenaline rush – rewarded by a 360 degree panorama. I feel like going back and doing it again now!

  8. Impressive views – I like this hike :)

  9. This brings back some memories! I just read your about page and looked at your US map. My wife and I did a similar road trip in 2010-11 in an ’83 dodge ram camper. It was the best trip ever. Thanks for sharing and great photos too mate

  10. It looks really exciting and the nature is fantastic. The photos are awesome. I hope to hike here someday!

  11. Wow, fabulous! Good job, you’ve described well. I want to do that hike!
    Frank (bbqboy)

  12. Wow, look at the scenery seen from the top of Zion Canyon, simply beautiful! I love hiking and I hope to make it there one day:)

    • Hey, thanks for stopping by! If you make it, I’d love to post some photos of other travellers up there – so send them through when you get to Zion!

  13. This looks like a challenge but an awesome view!

  14. That is some view. Thank you for putting this together.

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