I was tired and feeling a bit raggedy when I pulled into Zion National Park so thought perhaps I’d give my feet a day off, but then I read about Angel’s Landing trail and changed my mind.
It is labeled as being “one of the most famous and thrilling hikes in the national park system,” which got my hopes up. The trail itself ended up being quite a bit less exciting than I’d anticipated – although I did witness numerous anxiety attacks happening as I made the climb up. The views, however, were beautiful.
Angels Landing is a 1,488’ rock formation that was named for its sheer height, appearing to be so high that “only angels” could land there. In 1926 a trail was cut into the rock, the most notable section being “Walter’s Wiggles,” a series of 21 steep switchbacks named after the park’s first superintendent and the trail’s designer, Walter Ruesch. The last ½ mile is what is typically seen as the most infamously dangerous stretch of trail in the park, following a narrow ridgeline with steep drop-offs and strenuous climbs. A few years ago, support chains were fastened to certain sections of the trail as a safety measure.
I hiked Angels Landing at midday and the trail was crowded, which made the last section a bit tedious since hikers had to wait in line as people hauled themselves up and down the chained sections. While the views were beautiful, the hike itself wasn’t fun/challenging enough to me to be worth the crowds…but then, one of my favorite aspects of hiking is the solitude 🙂
If I were to go again, I would either skip this hike altogether or go early in the morning or late at night to hopefully find a more deserted trail.
If you happen to stumble upon this in a quest to decide whether or not the Angels Landing trail is for you, my advice would be to go for it… how often do you have the opportunity to sit where angels land?! And if you’re an avid hiker excited by tales of the thrill/challenge of the climb, don’t get too excited 😉 As long as your only expectations are for phenomenal views, there’s no way you’ll be let down.