The most famous hike at Zion National Park is Angel's Landing, towering over the land with a complete panoramic view of the park. It was once said the point was so high that only angels could land there, but luckily for us mere mortals, there are now chains to help pull you up the steep rock ways and steady you so that you do not fall off either side of the 1,500 foot drop offs.
- The 5 mile hike takes about 5 hours to complete, so make sure you leave enough time for the descent (you do not want to be on this trail in the dark!)
- Do not underestimate the physicality of this hike! It is strenuous, and it is hard - my legs were sore for 2 days afterwards!
- You start with The Wiggles, a 2 mile set of repetitive switch backs that take about an hour to traverse. The hike feels very strenuous (except for the "break" you get in the cool Refrigerator Canyon,) but it is NOTHING compared to the final portion of the hike...
- ...the .5 mile summit to Angel's Landing. Although this portion of the hike is only a quarter of the distance, it takes just as long (if not longer) to get up.
- This .5 mile portion to the summit is very narrow, and drops off on both sides of the trail. Fear of heights? Lack of balance? Out of shape? I wouldn't recommend continuing up to the summit. The view still beautiful from this point if you choose to not continue to the peak.
- Rated one of the deadliest hikes in the world, 6 people have fallen off Angel's Landing to their death! The risk is half the fun, and the views are a total pay-off, but you MUST be smart, careful, and prepared! (On the up-side, the last death on the trail was in 2010, and safety measures have improved).
- The final hike up to Angel's Landing is a "climber's tail" - meaning you have to use all fours to assist in climbing up. You must find foot holes and climb using your hands. It is unpaved and rocky.
- Bring the right gear! Have sturdy and grippy shoes - one slip could be fatal, so don't take the risk! Have a secure way to carry your camera, water, and other belongings. You need your hands, so everything must be in a hands-free zone like a backpack.
- Don't rush it! Some people act very impatient on the ascent and may try to push ahead through the crowds. It is very reckless, dangerous, and careless behavior that could result in fatalities! You can't stop other from behaving this way, but you can be patient, let them pass, and move on at your own safe pace.
- I'd love to say it's easy to get down once you summit, but because of how steep the trail is, you have to be extra careful on the descent, and it takes almost as long to get back down as it did up!
Do not ever be too prideful or too afraid to turn around if you decide this hike is not for you. But, if you do make it to the top, you will not only gain an astounding view, but also a huge feeling of accomplishment for gaining 1,500 feet in elevation above the canyon, and landing at 6,000 foot elevation, where only angels once could.
Hike on, wild ones!