Angels Landing (Zion National Park)
|Estimated Hike Time:||3 hours|
|Trail Type:||Out and Back|
|Elevation Low:||4,278 feet|
|Elevation High:||5,794 feet|
|Total Elevation Gain:||1,516 feet|
|Optimal Season:||Early Spring to Late Fall|
|Best Access Point:||Saint George|
Moderate Hike with a lot of switchbacks and tall cliffs along the trail which lead to one of the best views of Zion National Park. Definitely not for the faint of heart!
Angels Landing is one of the most visible portions of Zion Canyon as it rises over 1500 feet from the trailhead where you will climb steep canyon walls, go through dizzying switchbacks, and possibly get vertigo as the trail traverses the narrow fin leading to the summit. This is a fun hike that the avid hiker can do in a few hours, depending on fitness level.
- gps coordinates of trailhead: 37.259243, -112.951634
This trail is separated into three different segments: Refrigerator Canyon, Walter's Wiggles, and The Fin/Angels Landing.
Refrigerator Canyon: The trailhead for Angels Landing will take you across the Virgin River and after a tenth of a mile will lead to the West Rim Trail. Take the west rim trail to the north. Once you leave the river, there will be no shade until you get to the next segment, so make sure you don't over heat. You will follow the trail toward Angels Landing for about half a mile with little elevation gain. Ahead you will see the summit and the side canyon to the west that the trail gets swallowed by. Below the mouth of the canyon you will see a cliff that the trail zigzags up. If you start early enough in the day, the cliff will be shaded giving you welcome relief from the summer sun.
Walter's Wiggles: As you start to climb the switchbacks some mistake this as Walter's Wiggles, which actually is further up the trail. Here the trail is wide enough for people to rest at the end of each switchback and still let traffic pass. Once you get to the top of this cliff, the trail will level out for a time (about 4/10 of a mile) inside the narrow canyon with the occasional switchback. This part of the hike is shaded most of the day so if you started later, take it in. In spring, there may be some water coming through this canyon but the trail stays away from the water most of the time. Once you get to the end of the flat part, the trail will start to bend back on itself and start up the real Walter's Wiggles (named after the Superintendent, Walter Ruesch who helped construct these for safety of the visitors). Walter's Wiggles consist of 21 short cement and stone switchbacks which have recently been renovated. Once you get to the top of this you will reach Scout Point, a flat triangular point right before the final ascent over the fin and to Angels Landing. This is a perfect spot to picnic and get your nerve up to tackle the last segment.
The Fin/ Angels Landing: This segment is the most precarious part of the hike and arguably the perilous in the canyon. Once you leave Scout Point, the trail follows the fin which is only a few feet wide. The narrowest part is fairly short across the fin and there are big chains laid along the trail for handholds most of the way to the top. There are a few juniper trees that are clinging to the top of the summit which adds to the setting as you see it them grow straight out of the rock. You will reach the Summit about half way across Angels Landing and then about a hundred yards past, the trail stops at a great lookout point. From here you can look up and down the canyon taking in much of the awesome artwork that nature has provided. Across the canyon you will see the mouth of Hidden Canyon, Cable Mountain, the Great White Throne, and Weeping Rock. Below, you will see The Organ and Big Bend (the horseshoe bend in the Virgin River).
Additional information: Though the Danger Level of this hike is high, there have only been half a dozen deaths from this hike over the past 100 years. However, this hike is not recommended for children, especially past scout point due to the technical nature of the climb.
Posted By: Adam Gilbert