- The Virgin River at the beginning of the hike to Angel’s Landing
- Chains along the Angel’s Landing route over a sheer 1,000-foot drop
- The view of Zion Canyon from atop Angel’s Landing
- The view up Zion Canyon of The Temple of Sinewava from the top of Angel’s Landing
- Constructed switchbacks of the West Rim Trail on the way to Angel’s Landing
- A narrow section in Refrigerator Canyon
- Hikers make their way up Walter’s Wiggles
- Scout Lookout and Angel’s Landing from above
- The ridgeline route of Angel’s Landing
- Chains on the Angel’s Landing route
- Looking back down at the Angel’s Landing route
- Looking back toward Scout Lookout from the Angel’s Landing route
Angel’s Landing is the premiere hike in Zion Canyon and for good reason. This strenuous trail cuts through solid rock walls on its way to a narrow knife ridge leading to the top of Angel’s Landing nearly 1500 feet above the valley floor. The first two miles are on a well-constructed trail while the last half-mile involves climbing a narrow ridge with assistance from fixed chains. This hike is very strenuous and has tremendous exposure making it unsuitable for most children and anyone not in good physical condition.
The trail to Angel’s Landing begins at The Grotto shuttle stop in Zion Canyon (37.259084,-112.951051), accessible using the free Zion Shuttle. Board the shuttle at the Zion Visitor Center to reach The Grotto.
There is parking available at the Zion Visitor Center, however it can fill up quickly. During busy times of the year, it is often easier to park in the town of Springdale and use the free town shuttle to get into the park. The town shuttle drops off at the entrance gate. Enter the park and board the Zion Canyon Shuttle at the Visitor Center (37.20042,-112.986926).
There are restrooms and a water bottle refill station available at the trailhead.
From The Grotto shuttle stop, walk north to the bridge over the Virgin River. After crossing the bridge, turn right onto the West Rim Trail. The first two miles of Angel’s Landing follows this trail. The path climbs gradually before arriving at a dramatic set of switchbacks cut into a sheer cliff, eventually leading to the cool confines of Refrigerator Canyon.
The slope eases a bit as the trail climbs through the shady depths of Refrigerator Canyon before arriving at the base of an incredible set of constructed switchbacks known as Walter’s Wiggles. From here the trail winds back and forth nearly 20 times as it works its way up to an incredible viewpoint at Scout Lookout.
Simply hiking to Scout Lookout is very worthwhile and many hikers opt to end their hike here rather than continue up the intimidating ridgeline to Angel’s Landing. Hikers may also continue up the West Rim Trail. The views just get better as you go and it is much easier than the climb to Angel’s Landing.
From Scout Lookout it’s just one half mile to the top of Angel’s Landing but it is no small task to get there. Follow the well-marked trail south to the ridge where a series of chains indicate the route up the steep north side of Angel’s Landing. At times you will be climbing near vertical slopes with sheer drops of nearly 1,000 feet on each side of you. During busy seasons, this can be particularly nerve racking with the added difficulty of hikers going both ways. Take your time and be courteous of other hikers. Several people have fallen to their deaths while hiking the Angel’s Landing trail.
Once on top of Angel’s Landing, there is a bit more room to spread out and take in the incredible views of Zion Canyon. The peak is nearly 1,500 feet above the valley floor below. Round trip distance is approximately 5 miles.
- Visitors must pay an entrance fee (valid for seven days) to enter Zion National Park. The fee is $30 for a private vehicle with up to 15 passengers. You may purchase an annual pass for $80, which is accepted at all National Parks and many other federal lands.
- No pets allowed.
- No littering.
- Pack out trash.
The Angel’s Landing trail is extremely difficult with frequent exposed ledges and abrupt drops. Several people have fallen to their deaths on this trail. Do not attempt this hike without serious consideration of the risks involved. Only adults in good physical condition should attempt this hike. Wear sturdy footwear and pack plenty of water.
This trail guide is provided by Backcountry Post.