Angels Landing is a 6,000 foot tower on the rim of Zion Canyon. The Angels Landing Trail is a brisk 2.5 mile hike that climbs 1700 feet from the Virgin River. It is a strenuous walk. On a hot summer day, you should plan on drinking two or more liters of water on the way to the summit. Every time I've taken the hike, I've met people who failed to bring enough water!!!! Soda is not water. Warm water does a better job of fighting dehydration than ice cold water...so don't bother freezing your water for your hike.
The Angels Landing Trail starts at the Grotto Stop on the Zion Canyon bus route. You cross the Virgin River on a metal bridge. About two hundred yards beyond the the bridge you will notice a stairway leading down to a small swimming hole on the river. You may want to plan a dip in the water after your hike. It is not the cleanest water in the world, but the cool canyon waters are a welcome sign for overheated hikers.
The lower part of the hike is in Kaibab Limestone and Kayenta Shale. The main feature of the hike is the massive Navajo Sandstone cliffs. This sandstone was deposited as massive sand dunes. You can still see some of the patterns in the dunes as you walk through the canyon.
The trail has several switchbacks as it crawls from the Virgin River Canyon to Refrigerator Canyon. Refrigerator Canyon is a narrow overhanging canyon in the park. The main Zion Canyon is so deep, that few of the tributaries have eroded to the level of the main canyon floor. Refrigerator Canyon provides shelter from the sun, making the trail a little more pleasant.
A tight set of switchbacks called Walter's Wiggles (Wally's Wiggles) climbs from Refrigerator Canyon to the start of the West Rim Trail. The West Rim Trail leads into the upper formations of Zion's National Park, and is popular with back country enthusiasts. The main trail leads follows the ridge to Angels Landing. This is a rather exposed walk with a thousand foot drop on both sides of the trail. The trail requires a certain amount of scrambling over rocks, but has chains and guide rails at the scary parts of the walk. It is not recommended for those who fear heights.
Angel's Landing is a choice mountain climbing area as well, and you might see climbers on the shear canyon walls.
Scrambling to the top of the trail gives you an excellent view up and down the canyon. The Angels Landing Trail is one of my favorite hikes in the park. It is a good short work out. I noticed kids as young as 6 hiking the trail. It is a good place for a family outing, and should be part of your trip to Zion National Park.
- Zion National Park (66 pictures) Angels Landing has a spectacular view of Zion National Park.
- Zion Narrows (18 pictures) After a hot walk in the sun up Angels Landing you might be interested in splashing in the waters of the Virgin River Narrows.
- Zion - Canyon Observation Point Trail (19 pictures) The Overlook Trail is another popular destination in the park.