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 second stage is a relaxing walk through Refrigerator Canyon, also paved.
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.
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
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.
Two more images:
Renee took a sneaky photo of me taking a photo
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.
What is your favourite hike? What slightly dangerous, kinda thrilling hike have you done?