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Angel's Landing, UT

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Guide 74 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List UT > Southwest
4.5 of 5 by 24
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Difficulty 4.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,280 feet
Elevation Gain 1,488 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,700 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 Hours
Kokopelli Seeds 13.5
Interest Perennial Creek & Peak
Backpack Connecting Only
Dogs not allowed
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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30  2017-11-11 Uncharted
15  2017-10-24
Zion National Park
10  2017-09-07 John9L
3  2017-07-01 VolcanoCLMBR
19  2016-12-31 ddgrunning
7  2016-11-13 afrankie
25  2016-10-12 Uncharted
23  2016-08-14
West Rim- Telephone Canyon Trail Loop
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6
Author PaleoRob
author avatar Guides 137
Routes 111
Photos 5,253
Trips 942 map ( 2,097 miles )
Age 38 Male Gender
Location Grand Junction, CO
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, May, Sep, Oct → Early
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:19am - 6:29pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Hike where angels tread!
by PaleoRob

Likely In-Season!
Angel's Landing in Zion National Park is one this park's most famous and celebrated hikes, leading 1450 feet up from the valley floor to a sandstone spire standing high above the North Fork of the Virgin River in the middle of the Big Bend. It is also rightly considered to be one of Zion's most difficult day hikes. Zion National Park's first superintendent Walter Ruesch was the architect of the West Rim Trail, which can take hikers from the Zion Visitor's Center all the way up to Lava Point; Angels Landing is just a side trip on this trail, but what a side trip! And Walter left his legacy carved into the side of Refrigerator Canyon.

While this trip can be done as a side excursion from the West Rim Trail, most people do it as a day hike starting from The Grotto trailhead, which is where this description begins. After leaving the road, the trail immediately crosses a foot bridge over the North Fork of the Virgin River. Once on the west bank of the river, the trail heads north. At first the trail parallels the river, slowly gaining altitude, but after about a quarter of a mile after the crossing the river, the trail begins to rise more steeply in a series of switchbacks. In the gap below the hanging mouth of Refrigerator Canyon several switchbacks carved into the sandstone are visible. The trail continues to climb; during the summer time, this section of the trail is baking hot due to full southern exposure. The trail switchbacks several more times before reaching these rock-hewn switchbacks which take you into Refrigerator Canyon.

Refrigerator Canyon gets its name from the deep shade it is in throughout most of the day, causing the temperature to be much cooler than on the earlier portion of the trail. This is a good thing, because here is where the real work on the Angels Landing trail begins. On the northeastern wall of Refrigerator Canyon is the infamous section of trail known as Walter's Wiggles. Originally constructed by Walter Ruesch to allow access out of Refrigerator Canyon, Walter's Wiggles has become a trademark images of Zion National Park, seen on postcards and shirts. The switchbacks are numerous and steep - please take you time going up them. In winter and early spring ice is often present on them, so use caution.

At the top of Walter's Wiggles, the trail backtracks south along the ridge leading towards Angel's Landing. Scout's Lookout is located along this ridge, and is a popular viewpoint and turn-around point for many hikers. If you stop your hike here, your total round trip distance will be 3.9 miles, with an elevation gain of 1070 feet from the trailhead. The West Rim Trail branches off here, heading north and gaining altitude from Scout's Lookout. If you continue on to Angel's Landing, keep on the ridge heading southeast. Angel's Landing is the prominence at the point of the ridge, rising another 500 or so feet above the ridge.

The trail narrows and continues climbing steeply towards the summit of Angel's Landing. While the views along the ridge are beautiful, looking down onto the North Fork of the Virgin River, it is when you get to the summit that the view becomes amazing. You can look north almost to the mouth of the narrows, southeast towards Hidden Canyon and the East Rim Trail, or south through the southern end of Zion almost to Springdale. The rock spur below and to the east of Angel's Landing is called the Organ, and beyond that is Weeping Rock. Once you have finished taking in the view, return the way that you came.

This trail is rated as strenuous by the Park Service, rising almost 1500 feet in 2.5 miles, and there is no water along it's route anywhere, so be sure to bring your own.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a more difficult hike. It would be unwise to attempt this without prior experience hiking.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2009-01-04 PaleoRob
    area related
  • NPS PDF - 2
    area related
    NPS PDF - 2
  • nps related
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent of 22 deeper Triplog Reviews
Angel's Landing
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Zion National Park
in 2009, we hiked most of the shorter hikes available from the shuttle stops
hidden canyon, emerald pools, weeping rock, riverside walk and angel's landing
this year, we wanted to do angel's landing again, along with some new stuff
got going around 0845 or so
a little chilly to start with
wasn't all that crowded
an easy approach, then a steeper grade, through refrigerator canyon, up walter's wiggles and to scout's lookout
the fun starts with the climb up the ridgeline, navigating the chains and scrambles
a little crowded here, with one big traffic jam - not too annoying, though
spent a few minutes on the small summit, admiring the canyon and river views
the descent was even less crowded
glad we did this one, but i probably don't need to do it again; just too many people on it
next, we went over to the visitor center and hiked watchman trail from the campground
this was a lot of fun, switchbacking up to a little butte
the trail makes a loop around the top and the western edge has great views of zion canyon and springdale
really enjoyed this hike, and there were not many people on it
after some chips and salsa in the picnic area and a stop at the visitor center, headed out the east side
hit the canyon overlook trail just east of the tunnel
fun hike on a mix of slickrock and sand with good views to the west
a little late in the afternoon so the light wasn't great
headed for bryce, and saw some bighorn sheep near checkerboard mesa on the way out
Angel's Landing
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My trip was winding down and I wanted to hit a couple of trails in Zion before heading back to Phoenix. It was early afternoon when I parked at the visitor center and jumped on the bus heading for The Grotto. I hit the trail around 3pm and headed up. The lower trail is mostly paved which makes for fast travel. I headed through the refrigerator section and up the wiggles. There were plenty of people out but they were spaced out and easy to pass. I hit the chains and continued up. I felt really good and loved the climb up. The top section is so much fun and the views are ridiculous. This was my third time here so I didn't spend much time. I took a few pics from the summit and then started the return. The descent was easy going and fewer people were out. I cruised down and jumped on another bus. I'll have a couple of hours to explore the Narrows and then head back to Phoenix.
Angel's Landing
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Did a loop from the Grotto TH up the West Rim, and took the long way around to the west side, and then came back on the Telephone Pole Canyon Trail. Views are better on the West Rim section. Down the West Rim, up and back on Angels Landing, and then a steak diner at the Zion NP Park Lodge, followed by Key Lime Pie.

Didn't see anyone at the lodge training for their next sanction. Then again the Eiger Sanction was 40+ years ago, and ownership seems to have passed from George Kennedy to some new entity, I don't know, the National Park Service, or something. I guess they're OK.

Miles are added up from sections I found online, combination SP and NPS, and a HAZ route that checks out, and elevation is a best guess and based on a trimmed route. It may be off, but I am unsure as there is a lot of up and down. I added in a bit since you continue to gain some elevation on the plateau.

Excellent hike, a solid day hike for those looking to have views and escape the valley crowds. I'll try to do a description soon. Ironically, this is another example of a place where a fire opened up the views and improved things!
Angel's Landing
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Stopped at Zion with my buddy Alex on the way back to AZ.

We hit the park around 7:00 AM in order to avoid the worst of the traffic jams on Angel's Landing. I wanted to catch the first bus out of the visitors center at 6:00 AM but I kept hitting snooze on my alarm. Going up we encountered a couple of groups coming back down, but it was mostly smooth sailing up to the top. About half a dozen other people on top when we finished the climb, coming back down we encountered a lot of traffic jams. Even with the massive amounts of traffic this hike receives I feel it's totally worth it. The views are incredible and the scrambling adds an extra element of fun to the hike.

I thought the "sketchiness" of Angel's Landing is overrated. The chains felt unnecessary and I never really used them. On the way back down I did most of it with my hands in my pockets. I actually have a fear of heights and climbing, but it wasn't an issue for me, yet most other hikers were holding on to the chains for dear life. :roll: If it was wet or icy, I can see the need for the chains.

Next we headed further up the canyon along the West Rim trail to Cabin Spring. I like this area a lot. My first ever backpacking trip was from Lava Point to the canyon floor along the West Rim trail and the scenery blew me away when I wasn't focused on how thirsty I was because I hadn't brought enough water. :) It's still just as stunning. The white slick rock and pines could fool some (when looking at a photograph) in to thinking they are looking at Yosemite. Very peaceful back there.
Angel's Landing
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Up until about 7 months ago I had not even heard of this hike. But as soon as I did I knew it was one I just had to try. Since then I have heard and read so many stories about it that the day before the hike I was getting very apprehensive. Would I be able to complete it? :scared:

My wife hates steep inclines, so the plan was that at the TH I would head up to Angel's Landing and she would try another trail. We got there fairly early and I started up at 7:45am. The floor of Zion is already starting to get pretty warm during the day, so the cool of the morning was nice. And being early I was avoiding a lot of the rush. Even so there were several people starting out with me.

The trail, actually named the West Rim Trail starts out almost level but before long starts to incline. By the time of the first set of switchbacks, I think there were 7, it's gotten quite steep. Then you hit refrigerator canyon. A ranger told me that the trail in that area never gets direct sun all year long. It's full of vegetation, but that's from reflected light. This keeps it nice and cool, hence the name. The trail is almost level here so with the cool shade the body recovers from the first part of the hike quickly.

Suddenly there ahead is Walter's Wiggles. A set of 21 switchbacks. According to the park ranger these were designed and pushed by Walter Ruesch back in about 1921. When these were complete it allowed Zion to set up horseback rides up to Scout Lookout. I would rather hike it. But the trail is still so smooth that horses could easily do it.

At the end of Walter's Wiggles it's only a short jaunt to Scout Lookout. This level area actually has a set of outhouses. Seeing this made me laugh and wonder who has the task of cleaning those out and hauling the waste down. Somehow I doubt a pump truck makes it up there. I bet it's the task of the rookie ranger.

I was quite proud that I had made it this far. And only one "young" guy, from Germany, had passed me on the trail. I talked to a couple people at the lookout for a few minutes but then figured it was time to do the final climb. From here the ridge looks too narrow to climb and it's steeper than anything so far. But the park service put in chains to hold and useful to pull yourself up much of the -last half mile. There are areas of the trail where the ridge is probably 2 feet wide and over a thousand feet drop on both sides. Other places the trail is a ledge only a foot wide with a wall on one side and the thousand foot drop on the other. Going up I found I had my hand wrapped around and sliding up the chains most of the way. People had said just don't look down, well unless your peripheral vision is limited to maybe one degree you can't help but see the bottom if you look at the trail. Mine isn't that narrow! :o

Almost to the top the ridge widens to probably 20 feet or so. But it's shaped by flat slabs of rock in an inverted V so I was walking along the side of an incline steep enough that a trip would be a very long one. Then it flattens out and I am at the top. I had made it! :y: After about a half hour up there I found I'd gotten quite comfortable with the exposure and could stand on the edge to really appreciate the views. And the views are fantastic! Returning to Scout Lookout I found I only touched the chain 2 or 3 times.

After being on top the way down is very anticlimactic. Which is odd because it has a lot to offer.

When I got down to the TH I met up my wife and she amazed me with the information that she had made it to Scout Lookout and back. I was very proud she had been able to do that. :app: She said she had considered trying the last climb to Angel's Landing but her legs were tired enough to not be steady. And steady legs really are important on the last push.
Angel's Landing
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This was my first time to Zion and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had to park in Springdale because the visitor center parking was full, but the park did not seem especially overcrowded once I got on the bus. I didn't arrive until the afternoon, and it was pushing 100 degrees once I got to the stop to hike Angel's Landing. The lowest section of the West Rim Trail was in the sun, but being mid-afternoon, most of the switchbacks up to Refrigerator Canyon were shaded by the tall canyon wall to the west. Since it was so hot, there were only a few people on the trail compared to what it could've been I think. Once I got on the ridgeline out to the Landing, I was in the sun again and it was brutal. Was once again glad it wasn't crowded as I could see that ridge getting hairy with a bunch of people on it. There were a couple guys that seemed freaked out by the exposure and were surprised to see me "walking like normal". With all the cables and whatnot it seemed pretty safe to me as long as you aren't an idiot while you're up there. The cables probably aren't even necessary to complete the hike, but I was getting pretty beat so I was glad to have them to pull myself up the steep incline. After reaching the top I found some shade beside a little slickrock dome and put a frozen waterbottle behind my neck and cooled down for a while. A nice young man from Georgia sat down for a bit to do the same and we chatted for a bit. I tried snapping a few photos of the epic monsoon clouds blowing up to the northeast and tried to take in the view for a few minutes before heading down. By the time I started descending, most of the ridge was in shade. On the way back to catch the bus I detoured over to the Lower Emerald Pools. The pools themselves were small, muddy, and fenced off from access, but the little waterfalls spilling off the overhanging sandstone cliffs above were pretty sweet. I wanted to go to the Upper Pools but ran out of time as I wanted to try to get a sunset shot down canyon. This was an awesome hike, but I don't think I'd want to hit it when it was crowded. Just got a taste of Zion, and I definitely want to get some more!
Angel's Landing
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My wife and I caught the first free park shuttle of the morning (6:00 am) along with about 40 others. We wanted to beat the sun and crowds. The temp in the park the day before was 102 F and 40 hikers is nothing compared to the masses of people expected to converge on the hike as busload after busload would empty onto the trail every 30 minutes or less.

I loved this hike. I found the physical and mental challenges of the hike really enjoyable. It’s nothing like Half Dome but a really fun hike, nonetheless.

We had shade all the way to Scouts Lookout and a good portion for the rest of the way to the top. There were probably 10 to 15 hikers at the top when we arrived so we were able to find a place to hang our feet over the edge, fight off the mini-bears and enjoy a snack.

I would guess we passed about 10 hikers as we descended the portion of the trail with chains. But as expected, as we closed in on the end of the hike the volume of hikers we passed seemed to double at each turn.

Do it! But do it early!
Angel's Landing
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Well - scratch this one off the bucket list - after trying in vain to get a permit to the Wave we decided to knock this one off. We went to Zion on the Free Parks day - first mistake. We got there about 10am - second mistake.

Can't say anymore about this hike than whats already been said and there are no unique pixs to post.

Seemed like there was a gajillion people on this hike - waited at several choke points on the way up with the chains for people to pass - many many people should NOT have been on this hike - the sheer look of fear on peoples faces as they descended was sobering to me. We actually off trailed it a few times to get around people so we could get to the top.

Once there it was Disney Land galore with peeps.....kinda sad as it would be nice to have been there with about 120 less people on the top. One poor child had a tampon jammed in her nose due to elevation nose bleed I suppose - sad her parents would drag her up there like that. All about them I guess.

All in all tho - nice views from the top. The drive out of Zion was awesome - many views to take in and many pixs were taken.

My :SB: rant - since the parks are in the US and we pay for them thru our taxes shouldn't our foreign visitors still have to pay to get in? Sadly what became a recurring theme was the absolute RUDENESS of anyone French we encountered. ANYONE else was super friendly and we met many nationalities while we did our 9 hikes in UT and AZ - the French are supremely rude people. Sad - I just wish I would have encountered one nice French person to counteract the many rude French hikers we saw - a simple Hello would have been nice.....must be those freedom fries! Off my :SB: now...
Angel's Landing
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Visiting Zion. Angel's Landing was #1 on my list of things to do. Got a nice start from the Grotto Trailhead. Weather was perfect, clear and in the mid 60s as we began. The first climb got the heart rate up perfectly for Walters Wiggles. Was surprised how fast we got to Scouts Landing. Scenery was great when you looked away from the trail and sometimes not too bad on the trail itself.

The climb from Scouts on up to Angel's is not technically challenging. The chains provide a nice feeling of security, which the wife really really needed. She hung on to those chains like life depended on it. In one area devoid of the chains with a little exposure I heard her exclaim from behind me. "The chains, the chains. Where are the chains."

But we made it of course. The top was full of lots of others who made it and aggressive squirrels wanting morsels. We enjoyed the view, took some photos and began working our way down through the crowd towards the trailhead and eventually the Zion Lodge and celebratory beers and burgers.

Overall a really good hike. Would be amazing without the crowds and jockeying for position on the trail. As a mostly solo wilderness hiker, I can do without the crowds. But this is a national park after all.

Quick video of the hike is here:
Angel's Landing
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Zion West Rim with Angels Landing
Our first day in Zion, John and I planned to start out by heading up to Observation Point. Instead, we changed our minds at the last minute and decided to do Angel's Landing to try to avoid the weekend crowds the next day. The switchbacks leading up to Scout's Lookout were steep but manageable, and it felt great to stretch our legs after the long car ride and a good night's rest! Once we reached Scout's Landing (and a second "no seriously, this hike is sorta dangerous.. please try not to die" sign), John took off ahead up Angel's Landing while I took my time (and many pictures)! There was a happy little tree at the top, and lots of cairns! :D

After a quick snack, we decided to see where the West Rim Trail would lead us... I believe I recall John saying that it would be an easy, relatively flat trail. Pshyeah. While no part of the trail was exceptionally steep, we did gain quite a bit of elevation, and started feeling pretty winded (perhaps due to the high altitude?) near the top. Despite my false expectations, I still really loved this trail. The geology was unlike anything I'd seen before, and the time flew by. There were lots of plants growing out of solid rock, stupid lizards that reeeeally wanted to be stepped on, and John even found some snow!

The way back down was a breeze, and we headed over to the lodge for some (delicious) food before visiting the Emerald Pools. Which were... pools. No; they were pretty cool.. there were just way too many people there for me to really enjoy the area. I'm guessing it's because the name sounds so inviting. They should be called something like "the dentist's office" instead-- I guarantee that would keep people away.

Permit $$

Zion National Park
Zion Per Car/7 Day Entrance Fee (Permits such as backcountry and such may pertain too)

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To Grotto Trailhead
Zion National Park can be reached from Phoenix by way of Page, AZ. Take 89N to UT-9 @ Mt Carmel, UT. UT-9 will take you to the southern entrance to the park. From there, park at the Visitor's Center and take the shuttle to the Grotto TH. From Phoenix it's 394 mi - about 6 hours 45 mins.

From SLC (I-15 & I-80) 315 mi - about 4 hours 49 mins
From St George (I-15 & Bluff) 47.2 mi - about 1 hour 5 mins
From Moab (Main & Center) 350 mi - about 5 hours 21 mins
page created by PaleoRob on Jan 04 2009 9:15 am
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