Angel’s Landing hike in Zion National Park is one of the world’s most well-known and unforgettable adventure hikes and there’s no wonder why. There’s nothing quite like the adrenaline rush you’ll get when hiking to the top of Angel’s Landing with nothing more than a chain bolted to a canyon for support as you stare over 1,000+ foot drops. Would you have what it takes to look down even if you’re not scared of heights?
The Angel’s Landing Trail takes you along Virgin River where you’ll have the privilege of seeing 270-million-year-old layers of Kayenta and Navajo sandstone. This beautiful trail climbs up the gorge to the very top of a rock that overlooks the infamous Zion Canyon. This strenuous hike takes you up steep grades and plenty of rapid turns leading you to beautiful red canyons, colorful rivers, and a 360 panoramic view of some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes as the final reward.
If Angel’s Landing at Zion National Park is on your bucket list, read on to uncover some of our suggested tips for getting the most of this beautiful hike.
How Long & Difficult is Angel’s Landing National Park?
This hike is approximately 5 miles round trip from the trailhead to the summit. According to the guide that you’ll receive when entering the park, the Angel’s Landing hike should take between 4 and 5 hours. However, it took David and I about 3 hours to complete which included frequent stops (no thanks to me) and a lunch break. I’m fairly afraid of heights and definitely wouldn’t suggest going past Scout Lookout to the final stretch if you are too.
The hike was strenuous and featured steep sections of rapid elevation gain in full sun exposure, as well as scrambling and hiking along a ledge. The total elevation gain is 1,488 feet. The trail begins at The Grotto Trailhead at Zion Canyon.
What Can You Realistically Expect?
To be completely transparent, the most difficult part of this trail was the hike to the actual Angel’s Landing. It takes a lot of mental toughness to get up that first 2.5 miles which are incredibly steep and exposed to the sun (it gets HOT). Of course, the next section of the hike that forces you to use a chain for support as you climb along exposed cliffs for 0.5 miles can be particularly challenging to those who are afraid of heights. The worst of it is when it gets so narrow that you can see a 1,000 ft. drop off on both sides. While intimidating, we both found this to be the most fun!
Things to Remember About Angel’s Landing
–Drink a lot of water. The last available point to fill up your water is at the beginning of the trailhead. Make sure to bring plenty of water as it’s easy to dehydrate on this trail.
–Apply sunscreen and bring a hat. This hike gets hit with direct sunlight for most of the day so be sure to be conscious of it!
–Don’t worry about getting lost. The trail is paved and well-trafficked, even during winter months. You really don’t have to worry about losing your way.
–Be prepared to pass people and let people pass you. The trail to the top of Angel’s Landing does get congested. You should feel comfortable with passing people and letting people pass you, especially during busy seasons including spring and summer.
–There is usually always a crowd. Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park is extremely popular, even during the winter. Expect to see people. If you are interested in doing your best to avoid the bulk of crowds, consider going early in the morning during winter months. Just be wary of ice!
Who Can Climb Angel’s Landing Zion National Park?
The Angel’s Landing hike is well worth it for any thrill-seeker looking for stunning views and an exciting scramble.
However, it is recommended that children under 13 remain at Scout’s Lookout instead of climbing up the rest of the way to Angel’s Landing. There are very narrow and steep ledges that may make it difficult to monitor young children.
Pets are also prohibited on this trail due to safety concerns (and rightfully so!).
If you have a fear of heights, this may also not be the most suitable trail for you.
When is the Best Time of the Year to Hike Angel’s Landing?
Summers around Zion National Park can reach over 100 degrees Farenheight. Winters, on the other hand, can make the trail icy, snowy, and slippery. To avoid harsh weather and a crowd, it’s recommended you visit early morning from March through October.
How Much Does it Cost?
Zion National Park costs $30 per vehicle to gain entrance into the park. If you have the National Parks Annual Pass (America the Beautiful), entrance is free for one vehicle. There is no permit required to hike Angel’s Landing.
Where Do I Park for the Trailhead?
March through November: Vehicles are prohibited from parking on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive during this time. You can take a free shuttle from the Zion Canyon Visitor Center to the sixth stop at the Grotto.
December through February: You can park at the Grotto during this time since the shuttles do not run in the winter. Even during the winter months, be sure to get there early in order to find parking as the lot fills up quickly.
Fun Facts About the Angel’s Landing Zion National Park
-Angel’s Landing is 5,785 feet above sea level.
-The trail was discovered in 1916 by Frederick Fisher. He’s famous for the quote: “Angels Landing is so high that only an angel could land on it.”
-The 21 switchbacks in the trail were made in 1924 and known as Walter’s Wiggles.
-Many people hiking the trail don’t always go to the top. Generally, many people enjoy the views the hike has to offer at Scout’s Lookout.
-The narrowest portion of the trail is only a few feet wide.