Sunday, November 25, 2012

Angel's Landing, Zion National Park

Probably the most famous hike in Zion National Park is Angel's Landing.  Our family has done more "family friendly" hikes in Zion in the past, including the popular Canyon Overlook Trail.  Anyone who has made this hike is proud to share that they hiked a trail so perilous that they had to hold on to a chain in order to keep from falling down a several hundred foot cliff.  It is this slight degree of danger and the bragging rights that come with it, along with the tremendous views, that makes the famous Angel's Landing hike in Zion National Park so fun.

Katie and I took Gwen to climb to the top of Angel's Landing on the day before Thanksgiving.  It was a perfect day to do this 2.5 mile hike in that hardly anyone was there and the temperature was a perfect 65 degrees.

The hike starts out with a warning sign that points out 6 people have fallen to their deaths since 2004, this had Gwen concerned to say the least.  It sets out fairly easy, following the river at the base of Zion Canyon, but soon starts to climb up switch backs with about a 10% grade.  The hike is paved to the top, but is still a bit of a workout due to the steepness.

After about an hour we got to the top, and Katie felt very content to call that good.  She has made it to this point several times in her life and didn't feel the need to go any further.  Gwen was stuck in the middle, me prodding her to continue and Katie telling her to "just do what she was comfortable with."  It was Katie's subtle way of having Gwen stay put.  I was proud though as Gwen did decide to go on, and Katie reluctantly followed.

The final stage of the hike is where Angel's Landing gets interesting.  The trail goes up about 1/2 mile across what can only be described as a sliver of land that at times is only about 20 feet wide with 300-400 foot cliffs on either side and a chain bolted into the ground to give some peace of mind that if your footing slips, you can grab hold and keep yourself from plummeting to the canyon floor below.  I was proud that Gwen moved easily through this section.  I was even more proud that Katie overcame her fear of heights and made her way over this last 1/2 mile, at times on all fours.

By the end, Gwen was happy she did it.  This really is one of those hikes that is just a "must do."  It was a great way to spend some good family time together.

Start of Angel's Landing hike informing that 6 people have died since 2004

The last 1/2 mile of Angel's Landing Hike

View of Zion Canyon from the top of Angel's Landing

View from Angel's Landing

The thin strip of land to reach the top of Angel's Landing

Gwen and Katie on the switchbacks walking down Angel's Landing Hike


  1. Zion National Park lies in the northwestern section of Utah and provides some of the most dramatic and variable scenery to be seen anywhere in the national parks system.

    zion park utah

  2. wow!!! amazing pic...
    looking good..
    i wish i could visit this park..


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