Angels Landing Zion National Park hike

Angel’s Landing is the most renowned day hike in Zion National Park, and possibly all of Utah. While only 5.2-mile round trip with 1,500 feet of elevation gain, this trek has all the magnitude of a bucket list caliber hike akin to Half Dome in Yosemite. Segments of the perilous trail to Angel’s Landing are just a few feet wide with thousand foot drop-offs on both sides. If that prospect doesn’t make you queasy, you will find the hike exhilarating. The views are extraordinary and the trail itself is a feat of engineering.

From the Grotto Shuttle Stop (where there is no actual grotto), head west to West Rim Trailhead. Take the bridge over the Virgin River to the junction on the other side and turn right, heading north. Kayenta Trail, to the left, connects to the Emerald Pools.

The paved trail to Angel’s Landing starts out quite gradual considering the climbing that lies ahead. Views of Angel’s Landing come from the very start – a towering slab of sandstone protruding into Zion Canyon. The trail progresses toward the canyon rim to the south of the landing. This steep wall looks impassable at first, but improbably a route has been established switching up the steep rock.

Angel's Landing
The trail climbs the canyon rim

After 1.3 miles, cross a small bridge and enter Refrigerator Canyon. The trail heads straight back through this level hanging canyon, searching for some way up the steep rock wall. What you find is another marvel of trail building, a famed series of twenty tight switchbacks known as Walter’s Wiggles. The wiggles take their name from Walter Ruesch, Zion National Park’s first superintendent, who in 1926 set about constructing a trail to Angel’s Landing. Amazingly, Walter had no engineering experience.

Walter's Wiggles Zion Angel's Landing
Looking down Walter’s Wiggles

Above the dizzying switchbacks, the trail arrives at Scout Lookout, which has pungent bathrooms and fine views of Angel’s Landing and Zion Canyon. This point is 2.1 miles and 1,070 feet above the trailhead, and not a bad place to turn around for those afraid of heights. It is another half mile to Angel’s Landing along a bold trail that requires the use of fixed chain railings to safely cross the dramatic fin jutting into Zion Canyon.

Angel's Landing
Angel’s Landing

Wear solid footwear, hold on to the chains, and try not to look down as you follow the now-rugged track along the tricky traverse. In addition to frightening drop offs and exposed crossings, the route is steep in spots, requiring modest scrambling. Take your time and enjoy the journey.

Angel's Landing
Chains along the trail

Angel’s Landing stands in the center of Zion Canyon inside a horseshoe bend in the Virgin River. The views from the landing are even more panoramic than Scout Lookout. Reaching the end of the monolith is a real accomplishment, and the thrilling trail itself is half the experience. Take a break, have a snack, and make sure you feel at full capacity before heading down the potentially treacherous trail. Hikers fall to their death from Angel’s Landing each year, so do be cautious.

Once you get back to Scout Lookout, the paved trail provides a relatively quick descent. If you travel to Zion National Park and aren’t afraid of heights, Angel’s Landing is a hike you should not miss. It is also one you will remember forever — a truly classic trail.

Angel's Landing
Looking south from Angel’s Landing

To get to the trailhead: Between May and October, access to Zion Canyon is restricted to shuttle traffic only. From the Zion National Park Visitor Center, ride the shuttle for approximately twenty minutes and get off at the Grotto Shuttle Stop. Head west toward the river to find the trailhead.

Trailhead address: Floor of the Valley Road (Zion Canyon Scenic Drive), Zion National Park, Springdale, UT84767
Trailhead coordinates: 37.259183, -112.951328 (37° 15′ 33.05″N 112° 57′ 04.78″W)

 

Elevation Profile
Click or hover over any spot on this elevation profile to see the distance from the start and elevation above sea level at that location, which will be highlighted on the map.
Trail Map

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Photos

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These photos were taken in June of 2010. Click to enlarge.
Nearby Trails
Hike ZionEmerald Pools
This 2.4-mile loop visits three tiers of enchanting pools by incorporating the Lower, Middle, and Upper Emerald Pools Trails.
hidden canyon zionHidden Canyon
This 3.3-mile hike ascends the east rim of Zion Canyon above Weeping Rock, and then crosses dramatic cliffs to reach a hanging canyon housing a small natural arch.
Weeping Rock zionWeeping Rock
This 0.4-mile hike visits an alcove in the sandstone wall of Zion Canyon where water seeps out of the rock, nourishing hanging gardens and plentiful vegetation.
Hike ZionRiverside Walk
This level walkway follows the Virgin River to the bottom of the narrows north of Zion Canyon, a popular place to hike and swim.
Hike ZionCourt of the Patriarchs
This 0.1-mile walk heads up a short rise in the center of Zion Canyon to offer a nice view of the surrounding sandstone peaks.
Canyon Overlook Trail Hike ZionCanyon Overlook Trail
This one-mile round trip hike visits a scenic viewpoint looking west over Zion Canyon.
Hike ZionWatchman Trail
This 3.5-mile lollipop loop reaches a panoramic overlook on the side of Zion Canyon.
Moab hikingMore trails in Utah
Explore other hikes in Utah outside of Zion National Park.
Camping
Camping ZionZion Campgrounds
There are two large campgrounds at the south end of Zion canyon and another small campground outside Kolob Canyon.
OK! Add to trails I’ve hiked
OK! Add to trails I want to hike
Tagged with · National Parks · Summits · Zion Canyon
Distance: 5.2 miles · Elevation change: 1500 feet

18 Comments on Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park

  1. Caitlinsays:

    On my to do list!

  2. Great hike but a little over-rated. Most popular hike here, at least that’s challenging. I would recommend hidden canyon or observation point if you haven’t done those ones yet. Hidden Canyon viewpoint looks down on this hike which is awesome.

    http://trailtip.com/Member/DerekHolmes/Trails/Observation-Point-_Zions-National-Park/ShowTrail.aspx

  3. S Csays:

    May 2014
    Angles landing is spectacular. I hiked Hidden canyon the day before to acclimate myself to the drop offs as I am afraid of heights. My wife and I also hiked the 8 mile hike to Observation pt. over looking Angles, both have drop offs that are pretty spectacular. My take, after I quit breaking out in cold sweats from the drop offs the never ending line of people (it took and hour and a half to go up and back) it was well worth the effort. The views are spectacular from all three hikes. If you are just going for the view Observation point is much better, it allows you to see more of the Canyons. Adventure can be had hiking Angles landing. I was actually more nervous after reaching the top than up or down hiking, it is a unnatural fear of heights that makes it feel as if it is pulling me over the edge.
    Well worth the hike, just stay within your limits. There is no shame in turning back if it overwhelms you. Don’t leave your pack unattended or the squires will rip it up they know you have food.

  4. Ken Ssays:

    how cold will the water be in the Narrows 11/20.14? From Ohio and unfamiliar with temps in S Utah. Is this doable or skip and hike Angels Landing Etc.

  5. Johnsays:

    I have hiked all over the State of Utah in the past 40 years. I hiked Angel’s Landing in 1978 for the first and only time. I lugged a full back-back up the trail with the intention of camping on top of the West Rim. I had read in a trail book that The Great West Rim Trail was one of the most spectacular trails in Utah. Halfway up, and tired, we came to the Angel’s Landing Trail. We had not intended to hike it since the hike to to top of the West Rim would take most of our strength, but the park Ranger had suggested that we might give it a try “Because you’re only there once”. So we decided to do it. It didn’t look too hard or too scary. There was a small sign back then that simply stated that the “Trail may not be suitable for young children.” What an understatement! By the time I was halfway out on the Angel’s Landing Trail, I was silently praying “God, just get me out of here alive, and I’ll never do something like this again. I promise!” Then we ran into two people coming down. What a nightmare, passing each other while all of us clutched the chain for dear life. But I overcame my fear and did the Hike. It was well worth it. We continued on to the top of the West Rim where we camped for two nights. if you get a chance and have the strength, continue to the top after you do Angel’s Landing. The top is an isolated plateau with tall trees and water (the “Pipe” – check to see if the “Pipe” has water before you go).

  6. Hollysays:

    My husband and I just did Angel’s Landing last weekend – the end of March. Gorgeous views, well worth the hike. Though I would in no way compare this to the Yosemite Half Dome hike, which we did last August. I was 5 1/2 months pregnant climbing Angel’s Landing and had no problem at all. I absolutely would NOT attempt Half Dome in this same condition. Angel’s Landing is a cake walk compared to Half Dome.

    • Valeiesays:

      Thank you for the inspiration!! I will be 5.5 months pregnant when we plan to hike Angel’s Landing this coming August as well and am relieved to know there is another confident, brave soul who conquered the challenge! Thank you :)

  7. Steven Nguyensays:

    I will be going to Zion in the beginning of August, does the heat put a damper on these types of hikes? I will only be there for 3 nights and this hike is on the top of the list

    • The heat might definitely be a factor. However, Zion Canyon is so steep that if you plan things correctly, you can spend most of the day hiking in the shade. In the morning, select a hike on the east wall of the canyon. In the afternoon, do hikes on the west side of the canyon (like Angel’s Landing). This will help you stay comfortable on hot days.

  8. Terry Gadsdensays:

    The hike to Angel’s Landing is a wonderful experience – walking along a sidewalk-sized pathway with a 1500′ drop on either side is exhilarating.

  9. Rickisays:

    We are planning to arrive Zion Park at the end of September 2016. We are two parents (int their 40th) and two boys age 13 and 10. We are experienced hikers with no fear of heights.
    My questions are: Is this trail suitable or the kids?, how long it takes to complete the walk (average)? and what is the second most recommended trail to do with the kids (In case the dad will walk this trail and I will do another trail with the boys).

    Thanks
    Ricki

    • Mindysays:

      As long as your boys understand they can’t be running and playing through the scary part, it will be a great hike for them.

  10. Bobsays:

    Just completed the climb to Angel’s Landing, it had been on my bucket list for a while. It is listed as the most strenuous hike in Zion and I would agree. But if you don’t push too much, most anyone in reasonable shape can make it. The last half mile to the top of the Landing can be daugnting for some, a number of people stopped at Scouts Lookout, not wanting to go farther. As heights don’t bother me, I had no problem with it other than it is a quite a climb. Well worth the effort.

  11. Trevsays:

    A friend an I are planning on hiking Angels landing but aren’t sure if we will have the time, how long would up and down take? We are both in good shape and 25 yrs old.

  12. […] two miles we reached Scouts Lookout.  I found this nice website Hikespeak.com that provides a really nice write-up about Angels Landing hike and Scouts Lookout.  This is where […]

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