Thursday, May 17, 2018

Hiking Angel's Landing 4/29/18

Hiking Angel's Landing - Zion National Park 4/29/18 Trip Report
The day after running the Zion Half Marathon we ventured to hike Angel's Landing in Zion National Park. I had heard about the hike before, but did not realize how mentally challenging it would be. I'm not usually afraid of heights but with the amount of people, wind, and steepness, I almost backed out of doing it at one point but realized it was my chance to do it at that moment. I had to give it a shot because who knew when I'd be back. I'm so glad I did because it was an unforgettable experience.

The hike starts out at The Grotto trailhead. You need to take a shuttle bus there and it is stop number 6. You catch the shuttle at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. Be sure and get there early if you can as the parking lot gets full fast. It was actually full when we got there but we were lucky to find a spot on the side of the road not far from the South Campground. If you can't find parking, you may have to park in Springdale and catch a shuttle from there to the visitor center. 
Zion National park Shuttle bus
To get to the trail you will need to cross the street. There is a bridge, go over it and turn right.
Hiking Angel's Landing
Here's a map of the trail. After you turn right from the bridge you are on the West Rim Trail.
Angel's Landing trail map
It was really neat to see Angel's Landing ahead of us as we hiked. It was our goal.
Hiking Angel's Landing
The trail then starts to climb. If you look closely in the below pic, you can see the people higher along the trail. 
Starting to climb Angel's Landing
After lots of climbing, I remember crossing a bridge and from there you are in what's called Refrigerator Canyon where it is cooler and nice because of the shade. 
Refrigerator Canyon Angel's Landing hike
After a short flat section of the canyon, the trail climbs again in a series of short switchbacks called Walters Wiggles.
Walters Wiggles Angel's Landing hike
After all the short switchbacks it leads us to Scout lookout. Here we see the last warning signs on how strenuous the hike is, and it is after this section that the chains start to help you up the steep narrow ridge.
Scout Lookout Angel's Landing
Scout Lookout signs
We made it past a first set of chains and took a short break. It was there that one of my friends decided to not continue. There were lots of people on the trail and the wind was picking up where we were sitting. I really contemplated not continuing as well, but then I thought this was probably my chance to go at it because I didn't know when I would come back. I figure I should at least give it a try and if things did get worse, I could always turn around. I'm happy I made the decision to go for it.

I'm not going to lie, there were parts where I was like whoa, what the heck am I doing? It was scary. One could easily take a wrong step and fall to their death if one wasn't careful. 
Chains along hike up Angel's Landing
However, the views were amazing all the way up. There were two sides to this; it was really cool and awesome that we were doing this and then there was the oh my goodness, what did I get myself into.
Chains along hike up Angel's Landing
There is only one way up and down, so we had to wait lots for people that were coming down to pass. We waited for them to go by, then we had our turn. We did this many times on our way up.
Chains along hike up Angel's Landing
 Here you can get an idea of how steep some parts were.
Chains along hike up Angel's Landing
After some scrambling and holding nervously onto the chain in parts, I did it. We made it to the top of Angel's Landing! I was so happy! The 360 degree views were amazing!We did it! Angel's Landing
We hung out at the top for a bit, took pics, and I even did a happy dance. :p We didn't stay too long because we had our friend waiting below.
Happy I just hiked up Angel's Landing
Fortunately, going down for some reason wasn't so bad for me. I wasn't as scared as going up and that was a relief. 
Heading down - Angel's Landing
We reunited with our friend and got another shot at the landing where she was waiting, then headed down.
Group shot - Angel's Landing hike
It was so much easier going down. 
heading down - Angel's Landing
The hike is a total of about 5.4 miles round trip 1488ft of elevation gain. It is a strenuous hike especially that last half mile along the steep ridge up to the landing. This is definitely not a hike for those afraid of heights and not suggested for kids. You are high and there are edges where there are sheer cliffs and drop off, so definitely easy for one to fall if one isn't careful. Overall, I thought it was an amazing hike. Definitely can be mentally challenging in parts but the views and sense of accomplishment make it worthwhile. So amazing and one you should add to your bucket list if you are ever visiting Zion National Park. I hope to have my video footage from my GoPro up soon, so check back later. I will add it once it's done.

Here's the video, enjoy!
Happy hiking!

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