I have lived most of my life in Utah and had never been to Zion’s National Park until this last year. Okay, I know what you are thinking…..why did it take me so long to go see this beautiful park when other people come from all over the world to see it? I have no excuse, I don’t know why! But I am sure happy that I finally did go and now I can’t wait to go back and see more.
Hiking Angel’s Landing in Zion’s National Park
This trip was a spur-of-the-moment kind of trip. Memorial weekend was only 1 week away and we suddenly realized we didn’t have any plans. So we quickly booked a hotel in St. George, Utah and made plans to head down for the holiday weekend and hike Angel’s Landing. It is a 6-hour drive down from Salt Lake City so we left early Saturday morning making a stop in Toquerville to hike Kannaraville Falls first. (Watch for that post to come soon!)
Early Sunday morning we got up and drove into Zion’s National Park. From St. George it’s about an hour drive. We knew it would be a busy weekend in the park because of the holiday so we left our hotel bright and early around 6 am!
Zion’s National Park-
Zion’s National Park is located just North-East of Springdale, Utah. There are some hotels closer but since we booked so late we ended up staying in St. George instead. If you are booking a hotel be sure to check Springdale and any smaller towns closer by the park. There are a few hotels located in the park itself.
From March 12 through November 13 you will need to take the Zion Shuttle to get to the trailheads of each hike, as cars are not allowed up the canyon to those points. If you go in the winter you can take a self-guided drive through the canyon and view the beautiful scenery from the comfort of your own car.
Because this was our first time in Zion’s we weren’t exactly sure what to expect. As we got into Springdale we found that people were starting to park and wait at Shuttle stops. So we figured the parking lot in the park itself was full. We found a spot to park and waited to get on the shuttle.
Once the shuttle stopped at the Visitor’s Center we were surprised that we then had to purchase our pass into the park ($15 per person fee that is good for 7 days) and wait in another line for the actual shuttle that takes you up into the canyon. Oh, yeah we were a little unprepared! The wait to get on this second shuttle was at least an hour long! I guess we should have gotten up even earlier! HINT: Get a hotel that’s closer to the park and save yourself the wait or just DON’T go on a holiday weekend! LOL
The Angel’s Landing Trail Head is at Shuttle Stop 6. Once we finally got up to the trailhead it wasn’t too crowded. HA! Or so I thought. We started up the trail, stopping to take pictures along the way.
Take note; if you aren’t in good shape or have health issues you may want to skip this hike and take one of the easier trails. The hike is 5 miles round trip and starts at the Grotto Trailhead.
The higher you get you will start going up some steep switchbacks.
About halfway up the trail levels off and you walk through a small canyon to another set of even steeper switchbacks.
Finally, you come to the crest of the mountain but alas you still aren’t at the top! There is one more section to go and this is the challenging part of the trail.
Due to the sheer drop-offs on either side of the trail in most sections, you can only climb in single file. When the trail is busy, like it was this day, you must stop along any section that is wide enough to hold a group of people and wait while other hikers take turns going up or down the chains.
It was a bit chaotic as some would try to keep coming down, but there wasn’t room for more people in that section of the trail, so the hikers towards the front of the group would yell up to stop the traffic. Therefore, letting the others needing to go up the chains take a turn in order to make more room.
I think it took us longer to climb up this last section of Angel’s Landing than it did for us to come up the mountain.
We finally made it to the top and took a rest under the only little tree around. We ate the lunch we packed and enjoyed the beautiful vistas.
This little guy made his way along the rocks and was enjoying the sun by us.
After resting a bit we decided the hike up was definitely worth the view. 🙂
Looking back down the trail we could tell by the line of people waiting to come up that it was going to get crowded on top so we decided to head back down.
It didn’t take too long to get back down, we ended up in a group of about 6-8 people that were heading down and that made it quicker for us to get down without waiting for long periods of time to move along the chains.
Once we got off of the chain section the line going up was stretched out to almost the top of the switchbacks! CRAZY! I was so glad we weren’t in that mess!
After coming down the Angel’s Landing trail and catching the shuttle back to the visitors center we stopped in the gift shop to grab a souvenir and started talking to the cashier. She told us that they had just closed off the top of Angel’s Landing for safety purposes because there were so many tourists trying to hike up it. Basically, they weren’t allowing anyone else to go up the chain section that day. I was sure glad we started up early and didn’t get stopped before getting to the top.
There are many other hikes in Zion’s that I can’t wait to go back and hike; like The Narrows (where you hike down through the river in a slot canyon), Emerald Pools and Weeping Rock hikes, among other smaller trails.
Have you been to Zion’s National Park? What is your favorite hike? Do you have any tips you would like to share?
Until Next Time……Travel On!
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