Family Friendly Though not traditionally considered a “family-friendly” hike, older kids will either love this hike, or be terrified by it (maybe both…). This hike is not suitable for small children.
No cars allowed in Zion Canyon between March and November. You must use one of the Park’s frequent shuttles in order to get into the Canyon. Plan to take the shuttle to the Grotto drop off during these peak months. Check here for shuttle updates: nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/…
Hiking Angel’s Landing is a rare experience. The route is as efficient as it is improbable – most of the elevation gain happens on a paved trail leading to an exposed ridge. You’ll never forget the view.
Need to Know
Restrooms at Grotto Trail and there is an outhouse at Scout Lookout. Bring water, food, sunsceen and all necessary clothing. The hike is not long, but it’s intense full-value. Bring what you need to be safe and comfortable.
From the Grotto shuttle drop-off, look for the signed trail on west side of the road. The trail, somewhat sandy but not hard, crosses the beautiful Virgin River, and bends north to largely follow it. Angel’s Landing will be staring right at you. Savor this mellow warmup, because you’ll be working hard soon. As the grade increases, the trail becomes paved leading into the 21 grinding switchbacks. You’ll then transition into the shady depths of Refrigerator Canyon beneath Angel’s Landing, then turning back right to enter the final compact switchbacks (called Walter’s Wiggles) to Scout Lookout, where the pavement ends and the real fun begins. Assess conditions and your comfort with the exposed route ahead. If you are game, continue on the final 1/2 mile to Angel’s Landing summit. There are chains anchored by posts as optional assistance when the route is exposed. Grab em if you want. Regardless, you’ll feel the rush. When I did Angel’s Landing the weekend before Thanksgiving, 2014, it was a magnificent sunny day, but a chilly wind was blowing big gusts on the top section. it doesn’t take much to make you realize how vulnerable you are up there, so be careful. Exposure eases the last few hundred meters to the summit. Take a seat, stretch, and enjoy the divine view. Proceed back to Grotto trailhead exactly the way you came.
History & Background
Angels Landing (previously Temple of Aeolus) sits in Zion National Park at the shuttle stop, The Grotto. The trail was first constructed in 1926 with the help of Walter’s Ruesch, who the last 21 switchbacks are named after. (Walter’s Wiggles). Since 2004, there have been 8 recorded fatalities, and many people decide to turn around at Scout Lookout instead of pursing the next strenuous 0.5 miles to the top.
Land Manager: National Park Service – Zion National Park