Angel’s Landing Hike at Zion National Park

hike to angel's landing

Watchman Campground Campsite in Zion National Park

After sleeping in our air-conditioned luxury, we woke up the next morning to get ready to hike one of Zion’s most famous trails: Angel’s Landing.

Angel’s Landing was listed in The 10 Most Dangerous Hikes in the U.S. and one of the 20 Most Dangerous Hikes in the world. Just do a quick Google search and watch some of the videos on YouTube. They are bound to get your heart racing!

Angel's Landing

It really is a scary hike; you hold onto chains at the end (and sometimes have to let go of the chains to let people coming the opposite way get by) and you are exposed to big 1000 foot drop offs on either side of the narrow trail.

So why do so many people hike it? Because it’s also awesome! The end of the hike juts out into the canyon and the views are amazing. I had been watching videos of this hike and getting myself psyched up for it ever since we decided to come to Zion a year ago. This was a BIG DEAL! We filled our water backpacks and headed off to the shuttle. I was super nervous but still hoping I could do the whole hike.

The start of the hike is not too bad at all. It’s actually really beautiful, and the trail itself is a marvel; it’s obvious a lot of work went into creating it. 

angel's landing on the way up

Even if you don’t think you want to go all the way up to Angel’s Landing, it’s worth the effort to hike up to Scout’s Landing (the staging area for the final push to the top, and where a lot of people stop and wait for their brave friends and family to come back down from Angel’s).

The hike overall was beautiful and steeper than I thought it would be. Walter’s Wiggles (a series of steeply-pitched switchbacks) were no joke! I had to stop several times for water and to catch my breath. walter's wiggles

When we got to Scout’s, Jack found a place to wait and sat down. He had already declared he had no intention of going the last 1/2 mile to the summit.

scout's landingEmma and Will went on, and then Justin and I followed. I did not get very far up the chains at all before I got too scared of the drop off (which wasn’t even that bad right there, but it seemed pretty bad to me!) and told Justin I was heading back down. I white knuckled those chains and scooted on my bottom all the way back down to safety! I was disappointed that I didn’t go farther, but it was very clear that my fear was too great! Now back with Jack, I transferred my anxiety from myself to waiting for Justin, Emma and Will to COME BACK.

Justin came back after a bit and said that Emma and Will had gone on. We all waited. Jack and I were actively scanning the people as they came back down, looking for Emma’s distinctive yellow tank top in the steady stream of hikers. Eventually we got a text from Will that said they had made it to the top, but the service up there was pretty spotty so we got it about 15-20 minutes after he had sent it. Still, it was good news! The last push from Scout’s to the top of Angel’s is only ½ of a mile, so it seems like it would go pretty quick, but it’s a lot of scrambling and waiting for other people to go by, so it takes a while.

After an eternity, we saw them both appear around the top bend. HOORAY! I was so relieved. They got back down and told us all about it. Will said it was the scariest thing he had ever done. Emma thought it was amazing since heights don’t bother her. emma and will after angel's landing

They both said going down was more nerve-wracking than going up. I was so proud of them both, but more thankful than anything that they were back and that part of the hike was over. Coming Down the Angel's Landing Trail

I’ll be honest, I don’t think I’ll ever go all the way up, even if we go back again. But I may try, because that’s what I do!

The way back down was a ton easier. The wind had picked up and it seemed like it might storm, so I was glad to be off the top of the mountain! We got back down to the trailhead and then walked over to the Zion Lodge (another beautiful place that I would love to stay in). Emma got an “I Hiked Angel’s Landing” t shirt and we all got stickers or other souvenirs.

Justin bought the kids some ice cream and we sat and enjoyed resting our feet and soaking up the fun atmosphere. Then we climbed on the shuttle bus and went back to our campsite.

I had mentioned wanting to find a good place to photograph sunrise or sunset in the park and a helpful park ranger had given us some tips on places to go. After Angel’s Landing, I didn’t think I’d be up for any more hiking, but after supper the kids and I decided to hike up to Watchman’s Overlook from the campground. It was a pretty easy hike and we sat and watched the colors change as the sun set. We also got to video chat with my mom, which was a treat. I ended up taking some of my favorite pictures there!

We hiked back down after the sun set and collapsed into the camper, thankful for another amazing day!


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