I love hiking and climbing things. I love the thrill of adrenaline pumping activities. (And I should mention that I appreciate the shock value of sending Google images to my parents about what I’ve been up to… just to keep them on their toes.)
Stella and I left Bryce Canyon to go to Zion National Park. It is one of the most visited parks in the country, and because of that, driving is prohibited to most of the best hiking spots. They operate a very efficient bus system, which cuts down on environmental impact. Props to the National Park Service for this decision. We set up camp maybe a half mile outside of the park on a beautiful little spot on the river. Stella wasn’t feeling well and decided to do laundry and rest. I thought I’d head to the Visitor’s Center and get in a short hike before sunset. We only had one night to stay in Zion, and after talking to park rangers, I decided that I wanted to hike Angel’s Landing (a hike that requires chains) and the Narrows (wet trekking through a gorge).
Angel’s Landing is roughly a 5 mile roundtrip hike from where the shuttle will drop you off. You will walk a flat area of the rim trail before starting up an incline. About a mile in, you will have a nice shady walk through Refrigerator Canyon. It was just what I needed, as even hiking in September was so hot! Then, there’s a zig-zag up the mountain on a series of 21 short switchbacks. This will dump you out on Scout’s Lookout. There is a good view from here and if you don’t wish to hike with chains on the skinny ridge that leads to Angel’s Landing, this is still a great place to hike. I talked to people who decided to wait it out while their friends went up to Angel’s Landing and watched as several people started the ascent and turned around about 15 steps later.
Angel’s Landing is not for the faint of heart or for those afraid of heights. I took photos only when I had a safe, flat area to stop and pull out my camera. In some parts where you’re edging your way on a little cliff overhang while holding onto the chains, I couldn’t believe that the National Park didn’t require permits or have more signs up. At least six people have fallen to their death in the past 10 years (it could be more but I can’t remember what I was told at the Visitor’s Center) and I can see how this would happen. One little stumble or slip and you can fall down the sheer side of the ridge. I really loved this hike but there were moments where my heart was pounding, and I really had to watch my footing. Once at the top of Angel’s Landing, the views are spectacular! I sat up there for at least 30 minutes, took photos, caught site of a tarantula (the first one that is- I saw another on the way down), and spoke with other hikers. If you’re not afraid of heights and enjoy a little adventure, then this trail is for you!
Photos from the Angel’s Landing Trail:
And of course… the tarantula:
Have you hiked Angel’s Landing? Did you think it was dangerous?