April 15, 2024
Angels Landing by OneEighteen is licensed under CC BY NC 2.0.750

Angels Landing by OneEighteen is licensed under CC BY NC 2.0.750

Angels Landing is one of the most popular hikes in Zion National Park. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about getting to the top, including safety tips and information on current conditions. If you're ready for an adventure, start planning your trip today!

Angels Landing in Utah – How to Get to the Top of Zion’s Highest Point

Angels Landing trail in Zion National Park is a popular and iconic hike that offers stunning views of the surrounding area. The trail is a 5.4 mile round-trip hike with an elevation gain of 1,488 feet. It is considered one of the most dangerous hikes in the United States due to its steep terrain, narrow paths, and high elevation. Despite the danger, the trail is a favorite for many hikers due to the breathtaking views of the canyon and the Virgin River.

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Angels Landing by OneEighteen is licensed under CC BY NC 2.0.
Angels Landing by OneEighteen is licensed under CC BY NC 2.0.

What is Angels Landing?

Angels Landing is a stunning, iconic rock formation in Zion National Park, located in Southwestern Utah. It’s renowned for its breathtaking views of Zion Canyon and its challenging, yet rewarding, trail system. The trail is 2.5 miles long, with a total elevation gain of 1,488 feet. It begins with a paved West Rim Trail, and ends with a steep, exposed ridge that requires hikers to hold onto metal chains for safety.

Angels Landing is a popular destination for visitors to Utah because of its unique, natural beauty and its adrenaline-pumping hike. The 360-degree views from the summit are spectacular, and the experience of scrambling and navigating the narrow, steep path, along with the thrill of holding onto the metal chains, makes the journey up the mountain unforgettable. In addition, the trail is home to a number of big wall routes, which adds an extra element of challenge and adventure for experienced climbers.

Despite the dangers of the trail, Angels Landing is a safe hike if you are careful and experienced. However, it is not recommended for young children, unfit older folks, or anyone who is not surefooted and comfortable with heights. People have died on the Angels Landing chain section, so caution and common sense are always essential.

What you need to know before hiking Angels Landing

1. Check the weather forecast and pack accordingly

It is important to check the weather forecast and pack accordingly before heading out to Angels Landing hike in order to ensure a safe and successful experience. Unexpected weather changes can quickly create hazardous conditions on the trail, and the trail is exposed to the elements with limited shelter. Knowing the forecast ahead of time allows you to prepare for what to expect and pack the right items to keep you safe. For example, during the colder months you will want to wear warm clothing and pack plenty of water and snacks to keep you hydrated and energized throughout the hike. If there is a chance of rain, you will want to pack a daypack to keep your belongings dry.

It is important to check the water levels at the visitor center before you hike, as the Virgin River is prone to flash floods during the summer rainy season. Finally, wear the right shoes (traction, traction, traction!) and bring a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses for protection from the sun. By being prepared for any weather and packing the right items, you can have an enjoyable and safe Angels Landing experience.

2. Get a permit for Angels Landing

You need to secure a permit and a shuttle ticket to hike Angels Landing on or after April 1, 2022. The National Park Service introduced the permit system in response to increased numbers of hikers on the trail and to reduce crowding and congestion. Permits are awarded by lottery, both seasonally and the day before your planned hike, and the cost is $6 to enter an application and $3 per person if you are one of the lottery winners. In order to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all hikers, permit holders must also wear appropriate footwear, check the weather forecast and bring identification with them on the trail.

How to get an Angels Landing trail permit:

Step 1: Visit the National Park Service website to read up on the permit requirements and lottery information. The website will explain the seasonal lotteries, the day-before lottery and the link to apply for a permit.

Step 2: Apply for the permit. Each application costs $6 for up to 6 people, plus $3 for each additional person. The lottery applications open in January.

Step 3: If you are one of the lucky lottery winners, you will receive an email confirmation with your permit. Print or download the confirmation email to take with you when you hike.

Step 4: Park your car at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center or in Springdale and take the shuttle bus to Shuttle Stop 6 (The Grotto). The shuttles operate most of the year, but during the winter and spring months, you will have to drive yourself to the trailhead.

Step 5: Rangers may ask to see your permit before you begin the hike at the Grotto, Scout Lookout or along the trail. Be sure to bring your permit and identification with you.

Step 6: Get ready to hike! Make sure you have the right gear and check the weather forecast before you go. Thunderstorms can happen at any time, so use caution and avoid areas with chains if a storm is approaching.

It is necessary to obtain a permit for Zion National Park’s Angels Landing in order to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors. The trail to the summit of Angels Landing is steep and dangerous, and the narrow path is often busy with hikers. Safety is a priority, and the NPS has put a permit system in place to ensure that the experience is not overcrowded and that hikers are aware of the risks before embarking on the trail.

The park often reaches its capacity in the warmer months, making it necessary to plan ahead in order to secure a permit and a shuttle ticket. Finally, the permit system helps to protect the area’s fragile ecosystems and wildlife. By limiting the number of hikers, the NPS can minimize the environmental impact and the disturbance of the wildlife in the area.

See the National Park Angels Landing Permits & Hiking for more information.

What is the shuttle system for Angels Landing?

The Zion shuttle system is the easiest way to get to the Angels Landing trail head. The shuttle is free and runs from the Zion National Park Visitor Center to The Grotto, which is stop 6. Once you arrive at The Grotto, you can walk across the road and find the Angels Landing trail head sign. The shuttle system is the only way to access the Angels Landing trail head for most of the year, and it is open to cars during some winter months.

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170092330 L

3. Check the condition of the trail

It is important to check the condition of the trail when hiking Angels Landing because the terrain can be extremely dangerous in certain conditions. With sharp drop-offs on both sides of the trail, poor visibility due to weather, and the steep, narrow terrain of the final half mile, hikers should be aware of the risks of their climb. Checking the weather ahead of time and making sure the trail is not wet or icy will help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

It is important to be aware of water levels, especially during the summer rainy season, as the Virgin River is prone to flash floods. Finally, having the right gear, including good shoes and a hydration pack, is essential for the hike and can help keep the hiker safe. By taking the time to check the condition of the trail and prepare ahead of time, hikers can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience on Angels Landing.

4. Have the right gear and equipment

When hiking Angels Landing, hikers should be sure to bring the right gear and equipment for the journey. Good shoes or hiking boots are essential for traction on the switchbacks and other sections. Hiking poles are also advised, especially for the descent. A trail map and a daypack are also recommended to keep your hands free. Bring plenty of water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized. Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat are also a must due to lack of shade on the trail. Other essentials include a phone with camera to capture pictures of the stunning views and gloves that are optional, but may be helpful for the chain section. Be sure to check the weather before heading out and take at least one bathroom break in before starting.

5. Know the safety rules

When hiking Angels Landing, there are a few safety rules that should be followed in order to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. These include: do not hike if you have a fear of heights, this hike may not be suitable for young children or those not in good physical shape, stay on the trail, keep an eye on the weather before and during your hike, wait your turn to pass other hikers, bring sunscreen/water, get a bathroom break in before heading up, wear the right shoes (traction, traction, traction!), hike earlier in the morning to avoid extreme weather and crowds, postpone your hike if conditions will be slick or wet, bring plenty of water, have good walking/hiking shoes, use hiking sticks, wear a hat and sunscreen, use a hydration pack to help keep your hands free, fill your water bottle, and follow leave no trace principles. Remember, Angel’s Landing can be a dangerous hike, and it is important to be prepared and cautious. With this in mind, enjoy your hike!

6. Give yourself enough time to reach the top

It is estimated that it will take about 4 hours to complete the 5.4 mile round-trip hike to the top of Angels Landing. The trail is steep and consists of 21 tight switchbacks that gain 1,488 feet in elevation. You will reach Scout Lookout, where you can take a rest, about halfway up. From Scout Lookout, it takes around 1-2 hours to reach the top of Angels Landing and take in the remarkable views. Be sure to check the seasonal shuttle schedule before you leave to ensure you don’t miss the last shuttle back.

7. Talk to a ranger about the current conditions

To find out what conditions are like for hiking Angels Landing, follow these steps:

  1. Contact the Zion Canyon Visitor Center for daily trail and weather conditions.
  2. Check the flow data online for water levels in the Virgin River.
  3. Practice your balance with exercises.
  4. Prepare for the hike: print or download your permit, bring sunscreen and water, get a bathroom break in, and wear the right shoes.
  5. Hike earlier in the morning to avoid extreme weather and crowds.
  6. Bring a flashlight or headlamp with new batteries, some food and lots of water.
  7. Bring a park map in case you get disoriented.

Geographic Information:

  1. Grotto and Scout Lookout: Rangers may ask to see permits here.
  2. Trail: You may see a ranger on the trail at any time of day or night.
  3. Angels Landing Photo Album: You can download a larger version of the map here.
  4. Virgin River: Check the flow data online for water levels.
  5. 21 Switchbacks: These tight switchbacks climb the steep canyon wall, each one no longer than 25 feet.
  6. Scout Lookout: At the top, catch your breath at Scout Lookout, where you can see the ridge to the south and the remaining hike ahead of you. This is a good opportunity to rest, drink water, eat a snack, and reapply sunscreen. There are restrooms at Scout Lookout, but no drinking water.
Angels Landing Hiker by ZionNPS is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Angels Landing Hiker by ZionNPS is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

8. Know the risks involved

Hiking Angels Landing comes with a multitude of risks. There have been 13 recorded deaths from falls since 2000, so this is not a hike to be taken lightly. The trail is steep and exposed, and can be slippery or icy in the winter months. The terrain is tricky and uneven, with rocks and roots, as well as steep and hazardous sections. The summer heat can also be debilitating and cause dehydration if precautions are not taken. Owing to the popularity of the hike and its technical difficulty, the trail can become crowded and congested, which can further increase the risk of accidents. Proper preparation and caution are essential for a safe and enjoyable experience.

9. Make sure to have a back-up plan

It is important to have a back-up plan when hiking Angels Landing because the trail can be hazardous and unpredictable. Even if you plan well and bring the right equipment, you might still have problems. Emergencies can happen unexpectedly and can range from medical issues to bad weather. It is essential to have a plan in place to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. This plan should include things like having the right shoes for traction and protection, bringing sunscreen, water and a hydration pack, and knowing the route you plan to take and familiarizing yourself with the area. It is also important to be aware of the weather conditions, including temperature and wind, before and during your hike. Finally, it is essential to have emergency contact information with you and to be familiar with the park’s emergency response procedures.

10. Bring plenty of water and snacks

When preparing to hike Angels Landing, it is important to bring plenty of water and snacks. Make sure to bring at least 80-100 ounces of water, as well as electrolyte drinks, to ensure you stay hydrated throughout the hike. Additionally, bring salty snacks such as pretzels and trail mix to replenish electrolytes. Sun hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen are also essential items to bring with you as the trail is mostly exposed. Hiking poles, preferably collapsible, are also a good idea for the approach and descent. Finally, it is wise to bring a daypack to store your water, snacks, and other sundries, such as sunscreen and sunglasses, so your hands are free to hold onto the chains.

Angels Landing by Skinned Mink is licensed under CC BY SA 2.0.
Angels Landing by Skinned Mink is licensed under CC BY SA 2.0.

How to Get to The Top of Zion’s Highest Point

Step 1: Choose your trailhead

The trailhead for getting to Zion’s highest point is located at The Grotto shuttle stop. From there, the hike is a 5.4 mile round-trip which gains 1,488 feet in elevation. It takes most hikers around 4 hours to complete the hike, but some take longer. Before starting, make sure to check the seasonal shuttle schedule to make sure you don’t miss the last shuttle. It’s also important to be prepared for the hike by wearing the right shoes (traction, traction, traction!), bringing sunscreen/water, and a flashlight or headlamp with new batteries. If you want to enjoy the hike without the crowds, we recommend getting an early start (first shuttle if possible) in order to avoid the midday heat and afternoon storms.

Step 2: What are the different trailheads for Angels Landing in Zion National Park?:

The main trailhead for Angels Landing is located at the Grotto shuttle stop across the Virgin River. It is a 5.4-mile round-trip hike and gains 1,488 feet in elevation. Other trailheads for Angels Landing include Refrigerator Canyon, the Saddle, and Hogsback. Refrigerator Canyon is a shady and cool spot, providing a respite from the sun. The Saddle is the last half mile before reaching Hogsback. Hogsback is a rocky spine with steel chains bolted into the stone for balance. The path is narrow and overlooks thousand-foot drop-offs. All of these trailheads are located in Zion National Park in Utah.

Step 3: Gather required equipment

To reach the summit of Zion’s highest point, you will need the following equipment: good walking or hiking shoes, hiking sticks, a hat and sunblock, a hydration pack, sunscreen, water and electrolyte drinks, a daypack for supplies, sunglasses, a hat, snacks, and if you have a fear of heights, hiking poles. Additionally, a trail map and a camera are recommended, so you can document your journey.

Step 4: Get an early start

Getting an early start to Zion’s highest point is important for a variety of reasons. Firstly, it helps to avoid the midday heat and afternoon storms which become particularly intense during the summer months. Additionally, it helps to beat the crowds on the trail and gives you the opportunity to explore the stunning views on the West Rim trail in peace. Finally, it helps to ensure that you have enough time to comfortably navigate the strenuous 5.4 mile round-trip hike with 1,488 feet in elevation gain. With careful planning and preparation, getting an early start to Zion’s highest point can make for a rewarding and unforgettable experience.

Step 5: Expect the weather to be cold and wet

When visiting the highest point of Zion National Park, one should expect varying weather conditions. In Spring, Summer, and Fall one may experience mild temperatures, blue skies and sunshine. However, the trail can become very crowded in the Summer months, so hikers should plan to get an early start to avoid the large amount of visitors. Winter months, on the other hand, can bring rain, snow and ice, which can make the trail more dangerous and can even lead to portions of the trail being closed. It is important to keep an eye on the weather before and during your hike, as the conditions can quickly change. Hikers should be prepared with appropriate clothing and gear such as good walking or hiking shoes as well as hats and sunblock for protection from the sun. Hydration is essential, so bring a hydration pack to keep your hands free. Be mindful that this trail is strenuous and has portions with steep elevation changes, so be sure to be in good physical shape before tackling this hike.

Step 6: Be prepared for difficult terrain

The terrain at Zion’s highest point is very difficult, featuring steep inclines, uneven terrain, rocks, roots, and tricky sections. The path is narrow with exposure to thousand-foot drop-offs. It requires the use of chains bolted into the stone for balance and can be hazardous in certain conditions.

Step 7: Be aware of your surroundings

  1. Check the weather before and during your hike, and postpone the hike if it is wet or slippery.
  2. Wear appropriate shoes with good traction.
  3. Bring sunscreen, a hat, and plenty of water.
  4. Have a bathroom break before heading up.
  5. Take your time to cross the Saddle and climb Hogsback.
  6. Use the chains bolted into the stone for balance and safety.
  7. Be aware of your footing, as the path is narrow and has steep dropoffs.
  8. Step aside for other hikers passing on their descent.
  9. Rest and take a break at Scout Lookout, where you can see the ridge to the south and the remaining hike ahead.
  10. Reapply sunscreen and drink water at Scout Lookout.

Step 8: Be prepared for unexpected situations

Unexpected situations that can occur while climbing Zion’s highest point include slipping on wet or icy surfaces, losing footing on rocky terrain, and dehydration due to the intense summer heat. Other risks include sudden changes in weather, such as thunderstorms, and the potential for rockfall due to hikers passing on the narrow path. To avoid these potential hazards, hikers should stay on the trail, move slowly and carefully, and wait their turn when passing other hikers. It is also important to be prepared with the right clothing and equipment, such as good walking/hiking shoes, sun hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, snacks, and a hydration pack to keep your hands free. In addition, it is important to check the weather before and during your hike and to avoid extreme temperatures and crowds by hiking earlier in the morning. Lastly, if you experience any signs of discomfort or fear, take a break and regroup.

Step 9: Pack food and water supplies

When visiting the highest point in Zion National Park, it is important to make sure to bring enough food and water to keep you hydrated and energized throughout your journey. In addition to bringing a good pair of shoes, trekking poles, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen, here are some essential food and water supplies to bring along:

Bring along Water/electrolyte drinks to stay properly hydrated, especially if you’ll be slowed down by crowds on weekends or holiday outings. We recommend using ice in thermal water bottles (usually used for hot drinks in winter) to keep your drinks nice and cold. Water filling stations at The Grotto and throughout the park offer free water.

Salty snacks, such as pretzels and trail mix, will help replace lost electrolytes and prevent dehydration.

When planning your hike, also remember that restrooms and drinking water are available at the Grotto, so pack enough water, food, sunscreen, and all necessary clothing to make the most of your trip.

Hiking Angels Landing by Skinned Mink is licensed under CC BY SA 2.0.
Hiking Angels Landing by Skinned Mink is licensed under CC BY SA 2.0.

F.A.Q.

How strenuous is the Angels Landing hike?

The Angels Landing hike is strenuous, with a total elevation gain of 1,488 feet and sections of steep switchbacks and rapid elevation gain in full sun exposure. It is considered a class 3 difficulty difficulty hike according to the Yosemite Decimal System, and takes about 4 or 5 hours to complete the 5 mile (8 km) round trip. The last half mile is particularly challenging, with narrow paths and sharp drop-offs; chains are provided for portions of this section for stability.

How to get to the Angels Landing Trailhead

  1. Park your vehicle at the Zion National Park Visitor Center. Then take the free shuttle to stop 6 (The Grotto), and walk across the road where you will find a sign marking the trailhead. Cross the bridge and you will be at the beginning of the hike.
  2. The first two miles of the hike is on the West Rim Trail, which is a wide, paved trail with a steady, uphill climb. After the two miles, you will enter Refrigerator Canyon, which is a cool, shady canyon that provides a good place to rest.
  3. Next, you will start the Angels Landing switchbacks, which are very steep and have no shade. During this part of the hike, you will be able to see the peak of Angels Landing towering in front of you. After reaching the peak, you will have completed the 5 miles round-trip hike.

Before you begin, it is important to print or download your permit confirmation email from recreation.gov that says you got a permit (this serves as your permit), and wear good boots with ankle support and good traction. Additionally, you should check the weather forecast before your hike and make sure to avoid thunderstorms. Lastly, for most of the year, you will need to take the shuttle from the Zion Canyon Visitor Center to get to the trailhead.

What is the elevation gain for the Angels Landing hike?

The Angels Landing hike has an elevation gain of 1,500 feet (460 m).

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150739114 L

What safety precautions should I take when hiking Angels Landing?

When hiking Angels Landing, it is important to take precautions to ensure your safety. Firstly, make sure you are physically fit and have good balance, as this is essential to completing the hike safely. Additionally, keep an eye on any young children who may be accompanying you and ensure they are disciplined and not running around. Secondly, be prepared for the conditions, bring plenty of water, snacks and sunscreen. Wear hiking shoes with good grip and consider bringing gloves for the chain section. Finally, be aware of the weather and do not attempt to ascend if storm clouds are in the area, the ground is wet or icy, or if it is dark or will be dark before you finish. By following these safety precautions, you can enjoy Angels Landing without putting yourself in danger.

What is the best time of year to hike Angels Landing?

The best time of year to hike Angels Landing in Utah is in the spring, summer, or fall. While winter can be icy and hazardous, the shoulder seasons of spring and fall generally have the most pleasant temperatures. Summer is the hottest and busiest time, so if possible it is best to go during the spring or fall. When it comes to the time of day, the absolute best time to go is very early in the morning, to beat the heat and crowds. On weekends from late spring through summer, the trail can be quite crowded, so those times may be best avoided. Winter is the most unpredictable season for hiking Angels Landing, so it is best to check conditions at the Visitor Center before heading up. Sunrise and sunset hikes are perfect for photographers who want to take advantage of the desert light.

What is the best way to prepare for the Angels Landing hike?

The best way to prepare for the Angels Landing hike is to plan ahead and be prepared. Here are the steps you should take before hitting the trail:

  1. Print or download your permit before you get to the trailhead. A ranger may check your permit at the Grotto (Shuttle Stop 6), at Scout Lookout or along the trail.
  2. Wear broken-in hiking boots with good ankle support and good traction.
  3. Check the weather forecast and plan to avoid bad weather. Thunder storms can happen any time, but they happen more often in the afternoon.
  4. Get to the trailhead. Most hikers start from Shuttle Stop 6, the Grotto. During the few weeks in the winter and spring when the shuttle is not running, you will drive yourself to the trailhead.
  5. Pack plenty of water and snacks, sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and gloves (optional).
  6. Get to the trailhead early. This is a very popular trail that can quickly become crowded. By being on the first shuttle, you will be one of the first on the trail and avoid the midday heat and afternoon storms.
  7. Bring a daypack for your sundries—it will help keep your hands free for the chains on the last, exposed half mile.

Follow these steps and you’ll be ready to take on the adventure of Angels Landing!

Are there bathrooms available along the Angels Landing trail?

Yes, there are bathrooms available along the Angels Landing trail. Restrooms are located at the trailhead and at Scout Lookout (mile 2).

Are there any wildlife on the Angels Landing trail?

Yes, there is wildlife on the Angels Landing Trail! The hike takes you out of the canyon and up a steep mountain ridge, so you can expect to see a variety of wildlife, such as chipmunks at the peak of the hike. On the way up, you may also spot birds, lizards, and other small animals. There is also great opportunity for spotting wildlife from the views along the West Rim and Angels Landing Trails, as well as from the top of Angels Landing. Remember to be respectful of the wildlife and their habitats by not disturbing or chasing them.

Final Thoughts

Hiking Angels Landing is a challenging but rewarding experience that offers breathtaking views of Zion National Park. The hike is not for the faint of heart, as it involves steep inclines and narrow paths, but the rewards are well worth the effort. The panoramic views from the summit are truly breathtaking and are a must-see for any nature lover or outdoor enthusiast. It is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the natural beauty of the park. Overall, Angels Landing is a must-do hike for anyone visiting Zion National Park.

Happy Trails,

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