Angels Landing Hike in Zion National Park, Utah

Hiking Angels Landing in Zion National Park

The higher we climbed the more nervous I got. I held the chain as I peered over the edge and thought to myself, “What in the world did we get ourselves into?!”

Angels Landing Hike in Zion National Park, Utah

Angels Landing Hike in Zion National Park, Utah

Our path was narrow and rocky, the drop offs on both sides were more than 1,000 feet and the only thing we had to hold onto was a chain that emerged every so often. I tried to stay steady as we scurried up and over the uneven rocks. I’ve been known to fall on flat surfaces, so a tumble here wouldn’t have been all that surprising, especially since my shoes had horrible traction.

Angels Landing Hike in Zion National Park, Utah

Angels Landing Hike in Zion National Park, Utah

We were climbing the Angels Landing trail in Zion National Park—a hike that has been rated one of the most dangerous hikes in the world. I had seen pictures and heard stories of this trail, but never really thought much more about it until I was clinging on to the chains with sweaty palms. Part of the trail follows the ridge of the rock formation in the photos above–if you look close you can see people making their way up the trail! So this is why people say that the hike isn’t for those afraid of heights—I get it now. Thankfully, I’m not afraid of heights, so I kept on moving one foot in front of the other.

Angels Landing Hike in Zion National Park, Utah

Angels Landing Hike in Zion National Park, Utah

The Angels Landing hike starts out at the bottom of the canyon at the Grotto Tailhead. The hike is 2.5 miles each way and while it is strenuous in parts, it’s not an incredibly difficult hike. It’s short but the real challenge is more of a mental one due to all the exposed drop offs along the path. If you can, arrive early to beat the crowds as you don’t want to get stuck in a line of people towards the end of the hike. Micah and I were hiking with a couple of friends and ended up doing the hike in the late afternoon, which was also a great way to avoid the crowds, but it was also much hotter than it would have been in the morning. You can see the summit of Angels Landing in the photo below–it’s the tip of the rock formation in the center of the photo!

Angels Landing Hike in Zion National Park, Utah

Initially, the path is an easy walk with only a gradual incline, and then you get to the switchback section. This is the section that will have your legs on fire in no time. The two sets of switchbacks twist their way up the canyon wall at a sharp incline.

Angels Landing Hike in Zion National Park, Utah

Angels Landing Hike in Zion National Park, Utah

After conquering the last set of switchbacks, you will find yourself at Scout Lookout. The views overlooking the canyon from here are fantastic. This is also the spot where you might want to turn around if you are scared of heights as shortly after Scout Lookout is where the craziness begins.

Angels Landing Hike in Zion National Park, Utah

Angels Landing Hike in Zion National Park, Utah

The last 1/2 mile of the hike is what earns this trail its place on many people’s bucket lists. The trail follows the ridge and this is where the narrow path and exposure to steep drop offs come into play. Along this portion of the hike, there are chains bolted into the rocks that you can hold onto for support. The chain handholds don’t cover the entirety of the trail though, so be prepared for areas without the chain to hold onto. You will find yourself scurrying up and over uneven rock surfaces, so make sure you are wearing good shoes! I learned that mistake the hard way.

Angels Landing Hike in Zion National Park, Utah

Once you make it past the hair raising climb and find yourself at the summit of Angels Landing, you will be rewarded with views that span the entire canyon below. We were in awe with the landscape in all directions, and we had a hard time pulling ourselves away.

Angels Landing Hike in Zion National Park, Utah

Angels Landing Hike in Zion National Park, Utah

When you do eventually pull yourself away, then it’s time to head back the same way you came. Going down might be easier than going up, but it was definitely more terrifying! I may have slid down some of the steep portions of the hike on my bum, but either way, heading down required steady feet and a lot of patience.

Angels Landing Hike in Zion National Park, Utah

Thankfully, we all made it back to the trailhead safe and sound, and we couldn’t resist cooling off by putting our feet in the river while waiting for the bus to arrive. It was a great reward for a toasty day hiking through Zion National Park—hopefully we have time to hike even more trails on our next visit!

Trail Information & Tips:

Elevation Gain: 1,488 feet

Distance: 5 miles roundtrip; 2.5 miles each way

Starting Point: Grotto Trailhead in Zion National Park

Tips:

  • One of the easiest ways to reach the trailhead is to hop on the park bus and ride to the Grotto Trailhead.
  • Start the hike early in the morning to avoid crowds and the afternoon heat. If you start the hike in the afternoon, make sure to plan enough time in so you make it back before dark.
  • Make sure to bring enough water to last the entire hike. There are water stations at the trailhead but nowhere else on the trail.
  • Restrooms are available at the trailhead and at Scout Lookout, which is around 2 miles down the trail.
  • If you are afraid of heights you might want to stop at Scout Lookout as the last 1/2 mile of the trail runs along a ridge with steep exposed drop offs on both sides.
  • Wear shoes with good traction as the trail can be slippery.
  • Don’t attempt this hike if it is raining and beware of ice in the winter—it can get dangerous in inclement weather!

 

Pin It!

Hiking Angels Landing in Zion National Park, Utah

Tags:
,
38 Comments
  • Jenni
    Posted at 10:50h, 21 January Reply

    What spectacular scenery, unfortunately I have mobility issues so wouldn’t be able to do a hike like this so I love it when people share their photos so I can see what the view is like

  • Tamara Elliott
    Posted at 12:48h, 21 January Reply

    Oh my goodness…those views are incredible but the actual hike looks so frightening! Good on you for getting it done 🙂

  • Just Reyna
    Posted at 12:48h, 21 January Reply

    Good description of a beginners point of view. If you enjoyed the experience, I suggest you try canyoneering near angel’s landing area. Springdale has several canyoneering guides that can either teach you the technique in a day, or take you out to the playground. Being film makers and photographers, no doubt you will come across magnificent – never before seen views.

  • CG
    Posted at 02:31h, 22 January Reply

    AWESOME!!! Thank you so very much. I have been to Zion a few times but could never do this hike as I am deathly afraid of 😖

  • Roy Glassberg
    Posted at 05:32h, 22 January Reply

    Great description. I hiked up myself this last November, at dusk and I am now curious for similar type hikes in the world. On the way down there was a women terrified, holding onto the chains for dear life, and I got in front and helped her down.

    At the top it was so great to have a feeling that you and others you don’t know just conquered something together.
    Good luck on your travels

    • Leif Daulaire
      Posted at 21:19h, 22 January Reply

      Roy – if you are interested in similar hikes in other countries, I would recommend Norway. A few highlights to check out are Trolltunga, Kjeragbolten, Romsdalseggen, and Bessegen. There are plenty more, but there’s a start.

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 05:09h, 05 February Reply

      Thanks, Roy! Oh no, poor lady–that was nice of you to help her down. Going back down was definitely scary, but I agree the feeling of accomplishment with everyone else was so great! Glad you enjoyed the hike!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Hiking and Puffins in Iceland at the Latrabjarg Bird CliffsMy Profile

  • Rachel Elizabeth
    Posted at 07:53h, 22 January Reply

    I’m the BIGGEST wuss when it comes to hikes. Just looking at these pictures gave me such anxiety, haha. But those views are incredible! You’re a great photographer! I need to get to Zion and soon.

  • Carol Colborn
    Twitter:
    Posted at 11:33h, 22 January Reply

    Oh my gosh. We should have been more adventurous on our visit to Zion!!!

  • Les Petits Pas de Juls
    Posted at 15:05h, 22 January Reply

    Wow!!! I loved Zion National Park the first and only time I got to visit. It was way too short a visit, at that… I hope I can get back some day and head out to this trail! It sure looks fantastic! even though a bit strenous on the mind! Obviously, Raul will have to wait for me at the trailhead or hike around in another part of the park, as he is afraid of heights…
    Wow, the views are breathtaking! you did a great job!
    Les Petits Pas de Juls recently posted…Getting Greener: Not All Countries are EqualsMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 05:05h, 05 February Reply

      Thanks! Yeah it was an awesome hike and definitely worth it if you can handle the heights! Micah is afraid of heights too, but it’s funny because when he is out in nature like this it doesn’t bother him near as much as it does in a building or observation tower, lol! We had a short visit to Zion too and unfortunately this is the only hike we were able to do–looks like we both need to return sometime!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Hiking and Puffins in Iceland at the Latrabjarg Bird CliffsMy Profile

  • Brianna Simmons
    Twitter:
    Posted at 17:08h, 22 January Reply

    You are far braver than I. The sheer drops of the cliffs in Zion induced vertigo in me and I had no problem at all at the Grand Canyon.

  • Mama Munchkin
    Twitter:
    Posted at 18:32h, 22 January Reply

    Wow!! Those views are stunning. Although, I think I could only make it to the Sout lookout.

  • Claudia Laroye
    Twitter:
    Posted at 18:06h, 23 January Reply

    This looks like my kind of hike! Your photos are gorgeous, though even they probably can’t do justice to how beautiful this trail and canyon are in person. 🙂 Good on you for tackling this tough trail.

  • Lydia
    Posted at 19:18h, 23 January Reply

    Wow – the views are breathtaking!! It must be so satisfying once you get to the top and take in all the surrounding beauty. This is something I would definitely do and thanks for the climbing tips!

  • Ivan Jordon
    Posted at 04:23h, 25 January Reply

    The view I can’t help to admire it!

  • Christopher
    Twitter:
    Posted at 11:04h, 25 January Reply

    Wow, what an incredible hike. Are you telling me that there is only a chain to hold on to and no other safety harness? Brave. The view from Scouts Lookout looks fantastic and worth the trek. I would be very happy to reach a flat surface again and drink a cold beer to calm down. Lol

  • Nate Alger
    Posted at 21:42h, 02 February Reply

    Awesome post guys the pictures are fantastic as always! I can still say that to this day Angel’s Landing is my favorite day hike I have ever done. I really have no idea how you can take that good of a photo with a selfie?!?
    Nate Alger recently posted…The 10 Best Day Hikes in the United StatesMy Profile

  • Yulie Sullivan
    Posted at 23:18h, 09 February Reply

    Hi your blog is very awesome I love to hike too. Me and husband love to travel We been in Asia and now United States. It inspiring to see a hiking blog.

  • Amy
    Twitter:
    Posted at 07:03h, 10 February Reply

    Wow, I think I got vertigo just looking at the photos! It looks stunning though.

  • Bianca
    Posted at 01:11h, 18 February Reply

    What a great adventure and your pictures are amazing. Getting to Zion has just become a priority, thanks for the inspiration!
    Bianca recently posted…Top 10 Hiking Essentials You Need to Climb KilimanjaroMy Profile

Post A Comment

CommentLuv badge