Zion National Park

Zion National Park

Worth the Climb: Although strenuous, Angels Landing offers unparalleled views of Zion National Park

October 1, 2009, 6:28 am
It takes a lot to get me out of bed before the sun rises. So it was all the more surprising when I was the one to suggest the idea, as I invited my friend, Kelly, to hike Angels Landing at Zion National Park with me on a Saturday morning in August. We left early so we could reach the summit before it got too hot.

We arrived in Zion National Park shortly after the first shuttle left the Visitor’s Center, so we had to wait for the 6:30 a.m. shuttle to take us up to the trailhead. (The first shuttle departs at 6:45 a.m. through October, and begins service every 15 minutes at 7 a.m. The shuttle operates through Oct. 25, after which private vehicles are allowed access up the canyon.) Our later departure turned out to be a good thing, as neither of us had thought to bring a flashlight and both of us were surprised by how dark it still was in the canyon. We started hiking just as the sun was starting to rise over the east canyon walls, and the cool stillness of the morning gave me a burst of energy as we began the hike.

That extra energy didn’t last long, as the hike almost immediately starts its strenuous 1,488-foot climb. We had to stop often, particularly as I wasn’t used to walking in the higher elevation. The trail begins on sand, though it turns into a concrete pathway as the incline gets steeper.

Eventually the trail winds its way up into a canyon, where the path evens out for a brief respite before you climb again. When you reach some quick switchbacks—called Walter’s Wiggles—you have almost made it to the first plateau, also known as Scout Lookout. For many, that’s the end of the adventure. For others, it’s the beginning.

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Comments

Visited Zion on a quick trip years before and didn't have the time for this wonderful hike.  My goal was then to do it for my 50th birthday.  Took me 2 years to get back to this area of Utah from Kansas but on my 52nd birthday I was standing on the top and enjoying the view!

A must for everyone who can make it to the top.  A lot easier then I had thought, but my husband stayed at Scouts Landing.  He just wasn't comfortable with the steep drop offs.  For sure a once in a lifetime hike.... I'd do it again.