Hiking Angels Landing Zion National Park – All you need to know

Angels Landing in Zion National Park is the most strenuous hike in the park, with the last 3/4 mile climb being so narrow at time that it has chains to hold on to, and has 1000+ foot drops on either side. There have been 17 deaths on this trail since 2004 from hikers falling off the steep section of the trail, so you do have to take it seriously and plan accordingly. The views from the top are out of this world though and makes the climb so worth all the effort.

Although the hike is only 5.2 miles round trip, you can expect to spend a full day on this hike as it ascends 1500 feet in elevation. You will want to stop often and spend plenty of time at the top to take pictures of the breathtaking view of the Zion Canyon.

Angels Landing Zion Trailhead

The trailhead is at the Grotto shuttle stop and starts out being pretty easy walk across the shuttle stop but quickly starts ascending into the mountain. The first mile and half of the hike is a steady incline in direct sun and so it can get quite exhausting, although if you drink plenty of water and pace yourself you will be just fine.

The Grotto, Angels Landing Trail, Zion National Park
The Grotto, Zion National Park, the shuttle stop where the trail begins
Angels Landing Trailhead, Zion National Park
The beginning of the Angels Landing trail
Angels Landing Trail Beginning, Zion National Park
Great views of the Zion canyon at the beginning of the trail
Angels Landing Trail Incline, Zion National Park
Steep incline and switchbacks right from the beginning of trail

Refrigerator Canyon

The mid section of the hike, known as “Refrigerator Canyon”, is relatively easy half a mile or so in the shade and will allow you to cool down a bit. The temperature is so much cooler, it is certainly the “refrigerator” of Angels Landing in Zion. At the end Refrigerator Canyon, you will reach a section with 21 steep switchbacks, also known as “Walters Wiggles”. This section will definitely get your heart beat pumping again!

Refrigerator Canyon, Angels Landing, Zion National Park
Refrigerator Canyon, the coolest section of the hike
Walters Wiggles, Angels Landing, Zion National Park
Walters Wiggles, 21 steep switchbacks to Scout’s Lookout

Scout’s Lookout

Once you’ve climbed Walters Wiggles, you will have gained about 1000 ft in elevation in total. Take a break and enjoy the spectacular 360 degree views from what’s known as “Scout’s Lookout”. There is plenty of room to rest and catch a breath here before you head to the last and most strenuous section of the hike.

If you are afraid of heights, or if you have any sort of knee problems, or if the weather is less than ideal, we recommend you to turn around and not attempt to hike any further as the rest of the hike is along a shark fin like ridge with steep drops on either side. It’s a Class 3 rated climb, and a fall can be potentially fatal. There are chains to hold on to while you climb, but unfortunately, there are sections where there are gaps between the chains. Despite the risks, it is this section of the hike that draws the most hikers so you can expect to have plenty of company.

Scouts Lookout, Angels Landing, Zion National Park
View of Zion Canyon from Scouts Lookout
Angels Landing Ridge, Zion National Park
The shark fin like Angels Landing Ridge – this is the ridge that you’d be climbing in the last section of the hike! There are steep drops on either side.

View from the top of Angels Landing Zion

Once you get to the top, you will not be disappointed by the sweeping 360 degree views of the entire canyon! It takes some planning, some hard work and some mental strength to get through the final 3/4 mile but it is arguably one of the most rewarding hikes in the American Southwest.

If you have done the Angels Landing hike in Zion National Park, let us know in comments what was your experience like. We would love to hear from you! If you haven’t been to Zion but are planning to, check out our list of top things to do in Zion National Park.

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Shirish & Olya

Originally from different parts of the world, Shirish & Olya are a married couple based in San Francisco who share a passion for travel, outdoors and landscape photography. In summer of 2019, they hit the road in an RV visiting 19 national parks in US and Canada covering over 10K miles. This trip inspired them to create Outdoorsome, that they built on the road, as a way to help others discover new places around the world.
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