The Ultimate Guide to Hiking Angel’s Landing
his may be a strong claim, but the Angel’s Landing hike is definitely one of my favorite hikes in the world. It is a pretty strenuous hike, but the views at the top are worth everything.
I had been to Zion’s National Park a couple of times, but never had I been with people who could muster the courage to hike Angel’s Landing (okay, I might have also not been able to muster the courage). I had a love/hate relationship with the hike I had never done… more like a fear/excitement relationship with it.
I desperately wanted to do the hike because I had seen so many incredible pictures online, but seeing the pictures wasn’t enough, I wanted to see the view with my own eyes! But then there was the part of me that was absolutely terrified. I have this inexplicable fear of cliffs. It is kind of hard to explain, because I am often seen hanging off the side of cliffs… but just something about having a cliff on either side of you and only a foot to stand in between these cliffs, is terrifying. Just thinking about it now gives me chills!
Well one day, my friends and I were sitting around trying to decide on our next adventure, when one of my friends said, “Let’s do Angel’s Landing tomorrow!” Everyone agreed, including me, with this big cheesy COMPLETELY FAKE smile on. Emotions were flooding through me uncontrollably, “Yay,” I thought… with nervous laughter to myself. The other part of me was trying to fabricate the most realistic sickness I could have for tomorrow so I didn’t have to go. I went to bed that night feeling more nervous than ever. When the morning came, I decided to push my fears aside and to finally hike Angel’s Landing!
So here’s my list of things you should know before heading off to Angel’s Landing!
Be Mindful of Weather
This might seem like a given, but it is important to check the weather for the full day, not just how it is when you are headed there. There can be flash floods in Zion’s National Park and Angel’s Landing is very dangerous to hike if there is any lightning. Angel’s Landing is best to hike from March- October, but in the summer months, it can be extremely hot (I think this is a serious understatement).
Bring a lot of water because you could become easily dehydrated. Also, some people do this hike in the winter, but it can be very dangerous and iced over. It is not recommended to do this hike in the winter unless you have the proper traction cleats for your shoes and are going with a knowledgeable guide.
Beat the Crowds
Unfortunately, Angel’s Landing is not a secret and it can be very crowded! I accidentally made the mistake of going over Spring break and there were people everywhere! There were many points we were just standing there waiting in a line of people because there are many areas of the hike that are so narrow, there’s only enough room for people to hike up or down- so you have to take turns. So while a hoard of people would be coming down, a large line would be forming of people just standing around, waiting to go up. Also, to beat the weather and the crowds, try to go earlier in the morning!
This Hike is No Joke
This hike may only be 5 miles, but it is still very strenuous. It is very steep with about a 1500 foot elevation change. There are areas of the trail- closer to the end, where you have to hold onto chains for safety. The chains also help you climb upwards because there are certain areas you are definitely climbing, not hiking!
This hike is also not meant for the faint of heart. There is an area you have to climb where there is a cliff on either side of you. To be honest, the hike ended up not being as scary as I personally thought it would be, but it is still a bit scary in parts! I was surprised to find I was more tired, than afraid! I thought I was in shape because I go on hikes all of the time and am always on the go, but with the steep incline, I was definitely feeling the burn. There is also an area with the funny name of Walter’s Wiggles. It is a set of 12 switchbacks going up the trail and this area was definitely very tiring!
The View is Worth Everything