The view from the top of Angel's Landing is one of the premier scenic spots in all the world — rewarding those that dare take on the taxing journey to the summit that tests even the most avid outdoorsman.
Named by early explorers, who after looking upon the towering rock formation in what is now known as Zion Canyon, exclaimed "only an angel could land on it".
The summit is roughly 1,500 feet above the winding Virgin River, providing you with an almost fairytale panoramic viewpoint of Zion National Park.
Before we begin, please note that this hike, while a bucket list item for many that have heard of it, should not be taken lightly. This is a strenuous hike that requires hiking along narrow paths and steep dropoffs.
Zion National Park recognizes five fatalities from hiking Angel's Landing so please use extreme caution and avoid standing near the edge. Do not attempt this hike if it is raining, the rocks are wet or if high winds are present. Children and those fearful of heights should not attempt this hike.
Yet, even with the difficulty, there is a reason why this is one of the most famous hikes across the globe.
The trailhead is only accessible via shuttle April through late October. Hop on the shuttle at the Zion Canyon Visitor's Center and ride until you reach the Grotto shuttle stop.
Hop off the bus and head across the road towards the bridge that passes over the Virgin River. From there take a right to begin the segment of the hike along the West Rim Trail.
The initial part of this trail follows along the Virgin River, slowly gaining elevation as you begin to distance yourself from the river. The steep mountain in front of you may look daunting to climb at first, but an early engineering feat established a route switching up the steep rock.
The good news is that just one mile into the hike you'll get a much needed break from the blazing sun (and even a nice cool breeze if you are lucky) inside Refrigerator Canyon.
Enjoy the nice cool break while it lasts because the switchbacks you just conquered aren't the last you'll see on your way to the summit. Once through the canyon, you'll embark on what is known as "Walter's Wiggles", 20 tight switchbacks aiding hikers up this steep part of the trail. It was named after the first superintendent of the national park who helped create them.
At the top of the switchbacks you will find Scout Lookout, a great place for those afraid of heights to enjoy the view of Angel's Landing and Zion Canyon. There is absolutely no shame in turning back at this point. For those with kids, Scout Lookout is an achievable vantage point.
The Angel's Landing Trail formally begins at Scout Lookout. This last half mile to the summit is the most difficult, with hikers required to climb over rocks and boulders. Solid footwear is highly recommended. A safety chain has been added to help you along the way. Also remember that it is easier if you don't look down the sheer cliffs that you'll face along the rugged trail.
Reaching the summit is a great accomplishment. The top of Angel's Landing rewards hikers with truly unforgettable views below into Zion Canyon. Pause, reflect, eat lunch and enjoy the breathtaking scenery that Utah has to offer.