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The Angel’s Landing trail is the most popular day hike in Zion National Park, and justifiably one of the top hikes in any national park. It’s a straight-up classic. Start out along the virgin River on a mellow paved trail before the path kicks in a hurry. Leave river valley on steep switchbacks that cut into canyon walls and then head into the tight confines of Refrigerator Canyon. Reach Walter’s Wiggles, and infcmous set of short switchbacks that zigzag 21 times to the top of the ridge. The Wiggles are named after Walter Ruesh, Zion National Park’s first superintendent, who in 1926 constructed this feat of engingeering.
Catch your breath on Scout Lookout, a broad saddle with views into Zion Canyon and then go south on the Angels Landing Trail to a pinched ridge. Here you’ll have to watch your footing on uneven terrain (1,000-ft. drop-offs on either side of trail), and if you need to (and you likely will), hold onto chains bolted into rock face to ascend exposed ridgeline. Then, the payoff: Angels Landing. From the top of your deserved perch, you’ll see massive, sheer-walled canyons extending in every direction. Look down–way down–to spot the Virgin River flowing through Zion Canyon around the horseshoe bend of the Angel’s Landing promontory. Snap your hero shots before retracing the exposed route back to the main trail, and then down to the canyon floor.
-Mapped by Rajeev Jain and Mike Trottier
Plan an Angels Landing Trip
Zion National Park
GEAR UP In the rivers and canyons, you’ll want sticky-soled shoes, preferably mid-height or taller, and a walking stick or trekking poles for stability and pool probing. For hikes up the canyon, sturdy hiking shoes are recommended. Quick-dry shorts work work well for most seasons. Bring an extra dry shirt, an extra synthetic sweater, and a rain shell, even in the hottest weather. Shade, wet clothing, and canyon winds can be surprisingly cold. Thunderstorms can make the canyon frigid. You can rent specialty items in Springdale at the Zion Adventure Company, 36 Lion Boulevard Springdale, UT 84767; (435) 772-1001, zionadventures.com
WHERE TO STAY
Located on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Open year-round. Motel rooms, cabins, and suites available. Also has a gift shop and post office. Reservations recommended: 888-297-2757; zionlodge.com
South Campground: First-come, first-served. Call 435-772-3256 for more information.
Watchman Campground: Reservations can be made six months prior to arrival date online at recreation.gov or by calling 877-444-6777.
WHERE TO EAT
Red Rock Grill Dining Room at Zion Lodge. Open year round. Dinner reservations advised spring through fall: 435-772-3213.
Castle Dome Cafe at Zion Lodge. Open seasonally.
445 Zion Park Boulevard
Springdale, UT 84737
95 Zion Park Boulevard
Springdale, UT 84737
260 East 300 South
1120 W State St
Honey’s Fuel Center
344 South 350 East
Kanab, UT 84741-3739
1180 W State St
Hurricane, UT 84737
15 East State Street
Orderville, UT 84758
- Distance: 0.0
Location: 37.259407, -112.9506454
Walk along paved trail that winds NW toward the Virgin River
Location: 37.2598991, -112.9514389
Cross footbridge, then turn R onto West Rim Trail for steady NE climb
Location: 37.2648163, -112.9504471
Trail bends L and leads uphill
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Leave river valley on steep switchbacks that cut into canyon walls
Location: 37.2696648, -112.9503784
Turn L, heading N into the tight confines of Refrigerator Canyon; shady trail travels ½-mi. to the canyon’s head
Location: 37.2756424, -112.9514618
Walters Wiggles: These short switchbacks zigzag 21 times to the top of the ridge
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Catch your breath on Scout Lookout, a broad saddle with views into Zion Canyon. Next, stay straight @ 3-way, heading S on Angels Landing Trail
Location: 37.2724991, -112.9502258
Continue S on pinched ridge; watch your footing on uneven terrain (1,000-ft. drop-offs on either side of trail)
Location: 37.2708435, -112.949707
Hold onto chains bolted into rock face to ascend exposed ridgeline
Location: 37.2693443, -112.9478989
Angels Landing: Massive, sheer-walled canyons extend in every direction. Look down–way down–to spot the Virgin River flowing through Zion Canyon; retrace route
Location: 37.2656344, -112.9507077
Location: 37.2659492, -112.9508133
Location: 37.2702408, -112.9503708
Location: 37.2706833, -112.9495163
Location: 37.2695122, -112.9480972
View from Angels Landing
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Location: 37.2703362, -112.9493332