Angels Landing

Hiking Angels Landing

Lindsey Huster Blog Posts 2 Comments

Angels Landing

Angels Landing is one of the most well-known hikes in American and around the world! The unique formation, nearly 1500 feet tall, juts out to the middle of Zion Canyon.  Local legend states that the hike got its name after upon seeing the fin in 1916, Frederick Fisher exclaimed, “Only an angel could land on it!”  Ten years later a trail was cut in to the solid rock, giving hikers an unbelievable view of the canyon. 

The dramatic climb up the steep narrow rock while hanging on to a chain is NOT for the faint of heart.  Significant exposure to cliff edges creates a heart pounding experience for adventurists.  This iconic hike attracts thousands each year to Zion National Park and is certainly known as one of the most dangerous hikes in the world.  Since 2004, 11 people have died from falling along this trail.   

*We caution you to do your own thorough research before attempting this hike.*

What a unique climb!

What a unique climb!

Check out our Video

Quick Facts

  • No permit required
  • Shuttle Stop: The Grotto
  • Length: 5.4 miles roundtrip – 2-4 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 1,500 feet
  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Not recommended for young children or those afraid of heights
  • Early or late in the day, sunset is great for pictures
  • Since 2004, 11 people have died from falling

    Angels Landing Hike

    The hike to Angels Landing begins across the street from The Grotto shuttle stop.  Proceed across the bridge and follow the West Rim Trail, which is clearly marked.  The start of the trail follows the river through the canyon and is quite easy. 

    Next, you begin to climb a set of concrete switchbacks up the canyon wall to Refrigerator Canyon.  You are then rewarded with a cool easy section that leads to Walter’s Wiggles.  Walter’s Wiggles, a set of  21 very tight switchbacks, allows you gain in elevation quickly. 

    Enjoy the break and the amazing views at Scout Lookout.  There are also restrooms here, but no drinking water.  We did not use the restrooms, but I did read they are often lacking toilet paper.  Therefore, it would be best to be prepared with your own. 

    Now, you will have to decide if you feel comfortable continuing across the saddle to the even more mentally challenging climb to Angels Landing.  Continuing on, you will be thankful for the chains bolted into the rock.  This assistance is needed as you climb the incredibly steep and narrow hogs back to the summit.  Once you reach the summit, you are rewarded with a 360-degree view of Zion National Park.

    Looking at what lies ahead

    Looking at what lies ahead

    paved portion of the trail

    paved portion of the trail

    paved switchbacks

    paved switchbacks

    taking a picture break

    taking a picture break

    Walter's Wiggles

    Walter’s Wiggles

    warning sign

    warning sign

    Here we go!

    Here we go!

    overcoming my fears

    overcoming my fears

    such a mental hike for me

    such a mental hike for me

    I was super intimidated here!

    I was super intimidated here!

    climbing up the hogs back

    climbing up the hogs back

    Our Hike

    I pretty much experienced every emotion possible on this hike!  I felt excitement to be exploring this beautiful national park.  In addition, this hike was one of the bigger highlights I wanted to conquer on our trip.  I had done enough research that I knew it would be challenging for me mentally.  It was scary and I was curious to find out if I could actually do it.  Seeing it for myself would be the only way to know the answer.  

    I was also quite worried about Keith.  This would be the biggest hike he’s done since his surgery and I wondered if the conditions might be a little too much.  Plus, he had already gone mountain biking that morning.  I was just worried about the possibility of him being unstable and this is not the hike to be on if you are not sure-footed.  Not only are the consequences deadly, but I also didn’t want him to reinjure his knee with the climbing.  Overall, there were various aspects for myself and for Keith that concerned me.

    Overall, the hike is what I anticipated, but at the same time there were parts that were easier and parts that were harder than I imagined.  At the end of the day, I was physically capable of doing this hike and the mental anguish was just that.  I could let it get the best of me or be more reasonable in my thoughts.  The biggest factor that allowed me to complete this hike was the fact that it was not crowded.  I could take my time, letting others pass as needed and I did not ever feel unsafe passing people since it wasn’t necessary.  I do not think this would be the same experience on a busy day.  For me, I would not do it again unless under that condition.

    So close to the end!

    So close to the end!

    Look for the Zion Shuttle below

    Look for the Zion Shuttle below

    amazing how these trees grow right out of the rock

    amazing how these trees grow right out of the rock

    an amazing feeling

    an amazing feeling

    on top of the world

    on top of the world

    looking back across what we hiked

    looking back across what we hiked

    notice the road below

    notice the road below

    chained section

    chained section

    so thankful for that chain

    so thankful for that chain

    the descent

    the descent

    Keith looking down the trail

    Keith looking down the trail

    my legs aren't long enough to step down

    my legs aren’t long enough to step down

    climbing down wasn't bad, but it looks steep from the pics

    climbing down wasn’t bad, but it looks steep from the pics

    be careful!

    be careful!

    Pro Tips

    • Wear a backpack to keep your hands free- take water and a snack, chest mount or backpack mount for Go Pro, make sure your camera/phone is hands free
    • Wear good hiking shoes
    • Go when the least amount of people will be hiking- you will want space on the chained area and if it’s too busy, you will be scrambling around others
    • Be prepared and research this hike to decide if it’s for you; the hike to Scout Lookout might be as far as you go and is still worth doing.
    • If you become too uncomfortable during this hike, turn around! 

    Challenging Hike

    What has been your most challenging hike?  Was the difficulty more mental or physical?  What did you do to help yourself make it through?  Comment below and let us know!

    Zion Canyon below

    Zion Canyon below

    So happy we hiked Angels Landing!

    So happy we hiked Angels Landing!

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Comments 2

    1. It looks like you went in July 2020. Is that correct? Is Angels Landing now reopened?

    2. Post
      Author

      Thanks for checking out our site 🙂 We actually hiked this on September 29, 2019 in the evening, which is why the crowd was so low. As far as I understand, Angels Landing is currently closed. You can check the Zion National Park website for updates.