Tips for Mastering Angels Landing – A Hiker’s Guide to Zion

Welcome fellow adventurers! If you’ve ever dreamed of conquering the iconic Angels Landing in Zion National Park, you’re in for a treat. This guide is your go-to resource for mastering this exhilarating hike that promises breathtaking views and a sense of accomplishment like no other.


History Of Angels Landing Hike

Angels Landing is the crown jewel of Zion, beckoning hikers with its challenging ascent and unparalleled views. This thrilling trail is not for the faint of heart, but with proper preparation, it becomes an unforgettable adventure.

The trail was carved out of steep rock slopes in 1926 and continues to attract hikers from all over the world to this day.


Understanding the Trail

Angels Landing boasts a trail that’s both demanding and rewarding. The ascent involves steep sections, narrow ridges, and breathtaking vistas. It’s crucial to comprehend the trail’s challenges and respect its significance in the hiking community.

The hike climbs approximately 1,500 vertical feet along the narrow stone edge of the mountain reaching a top elevation of 5790 feet at the summit. Chain railing has been added for safety but some hikers may need an extra boost of courage to make it to the top. Once you do we promise the view is worth it!

The total distance of this hike is 5.4 miles round trip and will take you 2-4 hours depending on your speed. This is a strenuous hike and we recommend hiking in from the spring to fall months.

Pro Tip: Before embarking on this journey, familiarize yourself with the park’s regulations. Zion is a treasure, and responsible hiking ensures its preservation for future generations.


Preparing for the Angels Landing Hike

Now, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of getting ready for the adventure of a lifetime.


Physical Fitness Matters

Hiking Angels Landing requires more than just enthusiasm; it demands physical preparedness. Regular cardiovascular exercise and strength training will help you navigate the challenging terrain.

Many hikers experience severe leg cramping on this hike. Make sure to be extra hydrated and bring electrolyte mixes for the journey.


Essential Gear Checklist

Packing the right gear is your ticket to a smoother hike. Sturdy hiking boots, a comfortable backpack, and layers for changing weather are non-negotiable. Don’t forget water, snacks, and a good hat to shield yourself from the sun.

Pro Tip: Invest in quality footwear; your feet will thank you. And bring more water than you think you need – staying hydrated is key.


Weather Watch

Zion’s weather can be unpredictable, so check forecasts before you go. Summers can be scorching, and winters may surprise you with snow at higher elevations. Dress accordingly and be prepared for any weather curveballs.

Pro Tip: A compact rain jacket is a versatile addition to your gear. It can protect you from unexpected drizzles or sudden temperature drops.


Trailhead to Scout Lookout

The journey begins at the Grotto Trailhead, leading you to the captivating Scout Lookout.


Taking in the Sights

The initial hike offers stunning views of the canyon, gradually building excitement for what lies ahead. Take your time, enjoy the scenery, and breathe in the fresh mountain air.

Pro Tip: Start early to witness the sunrise; the play of colors on the canyon walls is a sight to behold.


Scout Lookout – A Pivotal Point

Reaching Scout Lookout is a milestone in your Angels Landing quest. Take a moment to rest, refuel, and mentally prepare for the challenging sections ahead.

Pro Tip: Engage with fellow hikers; you might pick up valuable insights or share a snack exchange tradition.


Navigating Walter’s Wiggles

Walter’s Wiggles is a series of switchbacks leading to the final ascent. Pace yourself, and remember, it’s not a race.

Walters Wiggles gets its name from Walter Ruesh who was Zion National Park’s first superintendent. To this day this portion of the hike is considered an engineering marvel.

The Wiggles demand a steady pace and strategic use of energy. Take breaks when needed, and savor the unique beauty of this section. You will gain elevation quickly on this portion of the hike!

Pro Tip: Find your rhythm; it’s like a dance with the trail. And don’t forget to look back occasionally – the view changes with every turn.


Final Ascent to Angels Landing

The exposed and challenging section called Knife-edge ridge demands your full attention. Safety is paramount; use the provided chains for support, and take your time conquering this thrilling stretch.

Again, heavy chains have been installed along most of the trail but not all of it! This portion of the hike is often described as the most nerve-racking but will give you a feeling like you are on top of the world.

Congratulations! You’ve reached the summit, and the panoramic views are your reward.

Capture the moment with some well-deserved photos. Reflect on the journey, the challenges you overcame, and the stunning landscape that surrounds you.

Pro Tip: Consider a panoramic shot to capture the vastness of Zion – it’s a memory you’ll cherish.


Descending Safely

The descent requires as much care as the ascent. Take it slow, watch your step, and appreciate the trail from a different perspective.

Pro Tip: Save some energy for the descent; tired legs can be more prone to slips. And remember, the journey isn’t over until you’re safely back at the trailhead.


Additional Tips for Hikers


Leave No Trace

Respect the environment and follow Leave No Trace principles. Pack out all your trash, stay on designated trails, and leave the beauty of Zion undisturbed.

Pro Tip: Bring a small trash bag; it’s surprising how handy it can be, and you’ll leave the trail as pristine as you found it.


Wildlife Awareness

Zion is home to diverse wildlife. Respect their habitat, maintain a safe distance, and avoid feeding them.

Pro Tip: A pair of binoculars can enhance your wildlife-watching experience. Keep your eyes peeled for bighorn sheep and mule deer.


Permits and Regulations

Don’t forget to secure the necessary permits for your hike. Zion National Park has regulations in place to protect its natural wonders, and permits help manage the trail’s impact. These permits are selected on a lottery system so it is not a for sure you will get one. Make sure to plan and visit their website to apply.

Pro Tip: Plan well in advance, especially during peak seasons. Permits can be in high demand, and you don’t want to miss out on this adventure.

Hiking Angels Landing is a rite of passage for adventurers seeking a thrilling challenge. With the right preparation, gear, and mindset, you’ll conquer this iconic trail and create memories that will last a lifetime. So, gear up, lace your boots, and embrace the adventure that awaits in Zion National Park. Happy hiking!