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Directions • We're kicking off 2014 Hikes of the Week with the Grand Poobah of southern Utah hikes: Angels Landing in Zion National Park.
DON'T FALL. Multiple people have died on this popular hike. Wear sturdy hiking shoes, know your limits and be patient amidst the crowds of visitors who want to see this special place.
Start at The Grotto bus stop in Zion Canyon. Follow the trail north and cross the bridge. For the first 1.75 miles, you will on the West Rim Trail. The trail is relatively level for the next 1/3 mile as it heads northeast and bends north. The climb begins with the first switchback. The next stretch is sunny and hot. But about 1.1 miles from the trailhead, you will enjoy the shady, cool reprieve of Refrigerator Canyon. The trail rises steadily north to a series of switchbacks at about 1.5 miles. Just ahead is Walter's Wiggles, an amazing sequence of steep, short switchbacks.
At 1.75 miles, the trail straightens and levels a bit as it heads south. There are some buildings and an open, gravelly area. This is where you branch off the main West Rim Trail to go south to Angel's Landing. If you are uncomfortable with heights, definitely stop here. The last half mile takes you over a knife-edge ridge with steep drop-offs on either side. There are steep climbs, occasional scrambling, and it's often crowded, which poses its own dangers as you shinny around your fellow visitors to reach the chain railings nailed to the rock. The narrow ridge broadens at Angels Landing itself, giving ample room to sit in peace and enjoy a magnificent panorama of Zion Canyon.
Getting there • Angels Landing is in Zion National Park. The gate is northeast of Springdale on State Road 9. Admission is $12 per person or $25 per car. Take the free Zion Canyon Shuttle from the Visitors Center to The Grotto bus stop. From November to March you can drive private vehicles in Zion Canyon, but the shuttle also is available and drops you off where you need to be. The trail begins on the north side of the road.
Erin Alberty Destination Angels Landing
Hiking time 5 hours
Round trip miles 4.5 miles
Elevation gain 1,500 feet
Trail head restrooms Yes
Dogs allowed No
Bikes allowed No