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Angel’s Landing {Zion National Park}

Angel’s Landing {Zion National Park}

There are some places in the world that are simply worth returning to time and time again.

Zion National Park is a place that you should go to more than once in your life.

And I am not the kind of woman who likes to go back to a place over and over – there is too much of the word to see! The fact that I would recommend going to a place more than once means it is simply stunning.

This is actually true about most of the American Southwest – you should go.

Then a few years later, find yourself there again. You won’t be sorry.

Zion National Park
Some of the scenery as you drive through to the main park …. this is just the warm up!

This spring, I found myself in the Southwest. Again. Some friends convinced me that running down to Havasu Falls over the May Long Weekend was a good idea. And once you buy a plane ticket, you might as well stay for a while.

About 48 adventures other than Havasu Falls were on my list, and Angel’s Landing was on the top of the list. After finding Havasu Falls, the other adventures began.

Arizona and Utah were begging to be explored and many hikes were firmly on my ‘to do’ list. Towards the top of the list? Angel’s Landing.

Angel’s Landing Hike Details

  • 4.8 miles / 7.8 km roundtrip
  • 1,500 feet / 460 meters elevation gain
  • Class 3 Difficulty
  • Weeping Rock shuttle stop
  • 1,000 foot drops on both sides of the trail with a trail that is less than two feet wide at places

Getting to the trailhead takes some logistics, but not too many.

Simply put, the park is popular and shuttles are required. Coming in from the east means you can enjoy the views, stop at some pullouts, and try to hold your breath as you drive through the tunnel they blasted through the rock while being stunned by the beauty which surrounds you.

If you’re lucky, you’ll find a spot at the visitor centre or the parking lots close to the visitor centre.

Warning – luck is usually in short order.

Most likely you will have to park in Springdale on the west side of the park and grab a shuttle into the park and then hop onto the Zion Park shuttles.

Give yourself a lot of time in the morning, ensure you have the following items with you when you hop on the shuttle and you will be fine. After all, getting back to your car if you forgot something sounds WAY easier than it actually is.

  • Backpack
  • Water bottles / water bladder
  • Sunscreen
  • Snacks
  • Light coat / rain coat
  • Hiking poles (if that’s your style)
  • Money / credit cards (there are restaurants and places that sell ice cream!)
  • All hiking notes / maps of the park

Finding Angel’s Landing trailhead.

Luckily this part is ridiculously easy.

Simply get off at The Grotto once you’re on the Zion Park Shuttle, cross the road, and start climbing!

  • For about 2.5 km, you simply climb up. And up and up and up!

The switchbacks carved into the side of the mountain is an engineering feat. Another feat is climbing up to the top of them!

Angel's Landing Zion National Park
So many switchbacks! Somehow, you make it to the top without dying; those engineers sure knew what they were doing! Amazing.

After what seems like an eternity of climbing, you reach a mesa and if you’re like me, you think you’ve arrived … but then, looking ahead, you see what remains.

A very narrow spine with 1,000 foot drop offs on both sides stares back at you.

 

Angel's Landing Zion National Park
See that spine behind my head? Yeah … so that’s the trail …

Gulp!

A metal chain snaking its way up to the top paired with footholds shows the way. Unfortunately, the path, which is about two feet wide, is also for oncoming traffic.

Courage and grit are required to make it to the top.

Angel's Landing Zion National Park
And this is the view as you go down … I was so glad there was no wind!

Note to self – don’t climb this on a windy day!

Luckily the day we chose to climb was hot, but not windy. I don’t know how well I would have done navigating the narrow foothold with the wind trying to blow me off the edge.

Balancing risk and reward while keeping your fear of heights under control is not for the faint of heart.

For some reason, the day we climbed, courage filled me and I somehow managed to get to the top without panicking, creating a scene, or falling off the mountain.

Hiking win!

All of the hiking over the years must have paid off because as I stood on the edge and peered at the valley below, I realized that I should have more fear. Don’t ask me how, but the edge didn’t bother me and I simply enjoyed the views from the many precipices and wasn’t worried about falling off the edge.

What was I thinking?

And I should have been worried … 1,500 feet to the valley floor means death for sure! And those chipmunks that literally steal the apple right out of your head while you’re eating – scary! I nearly fell off the edge while trying to keep ownership of my fruit!

Angel's Landing Zion National Park
Too close to the edge, too close!! And holy, it was a sunny day, this was my best, “No I am not looking directly into the sun nor are my retinas being burnt” look.

The view from the top is worth the harrowing climb and the seemingly never-ending switchbacks.

If you find yourself anywhere near Zion National Park, make sure you check Angel’s Landing off your list of ‘Have Dones.’

If you’ve done Angel’s Landing, is this on your ‘favorite hikes’ list as well?



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