After our trip into the Maze district of Canyonlands National Park we had planned to do some canyoneering in Escalante, Utah. But the three day forecast called for rain so we moved up our plan for visiting Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park.
We spent a half day at Bryce National Park and drove into Zion National Park that evening.
Zion National Park is one of the most beautiful National Parks I have visited.
The next morning we attempted to hike South Guardian Angel in the Kolob Terrace section of the park. It was very very windy for a somewhat exposed hike, so after a few miles of hiking we decided that it will be fantastic for another day..
We came back to the car, napped, and waited to start the Angel’s Landing hike a bit later in the day to miss some of the crowds.
- Round trip length: 5 miles
- Start elevation: 4,300 feet
- End elevation: 5,800 feet
- Total elevation gain: 1,500 feet
- Trailhead: Grotto Trailhead via mandatory shuttle from April 1 – October 30
- Dogs Allowed: no
As I’ve just referenced his website three times, can I just say that if you are planning a trip to Zion check out Joe’s Guide to Zion National Park for all of your hiking and canyoneering needs, it is fantastic.
We got on the shuttle around 4:15 PM and started the hike at 4:45 PM. We passed loads of people coming down from the hike and not too many were going up. Goody!
The trail is paved to help channel the parade of people. Starting very early or late in the day will help you avoid most people if that fits your solitary, hermitical tendencies. Welcome to the club!
Up and up you go. The trail quickly turns into steep switchbacks for approximately 2 miles.
Travel through Refrigerator Canyon and Walter’s Wiggles. Yes that is a real thing. Then you reach Scout’s Lookout, where the West Rim trail diverges and you continue to Angel’s Landing.
The rest of the hike is pretty incredible. As you scramble up there are many exposed sections of the trail – you can look down on either side of the trail to steep views of the canyon below. There are plenty of chains and carved steps along the way.
The scariest part of the hike was probably the number of people that we had to pass as they were hiking down. Your mind starts to craft detailed scenarios in which a stranger unknowingly trips you and you hurtle off the cliff side. Is this just me?
There were a few people that seemed to be terrified of the exposure and as good ole Joe says: “If you are overcome by panic at the first section of chains, do not continue any further. It doesn’t get any better!”
Overall this was a fun hike and I would recommend it to those who aren’t too afraid of heights. The 360 degree views from the top are incredible. Avoid the crowds by going early or late in the day (with enough time to catch the shuttle back to your car) – and because it won’t be so hot! Wear hiking shoes. Wear sunscreen because there’s not much shade. Pee before you start – in the established restrooms. Bring some water. And don’t join the handful of people who have fallen to their deaths. Happy trails!