Angels Landing (aka Angel's Landing or Angels' Landing), located in Zion National Park in Southwestern Utah, is a spectacular rock fin that offers arguably the finest hike in the park and a number of big wall routes as well. The summit offers impressive views of Zion Canyon and is a must climb for many visitors to Zion National Park.
The easiest and most popular way up top is the 2.5 mile class 3 Angels Landing Trail that leaves the Grotto Picnic Area shuttle stop (4298') on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. The first 2 miles are up the mostly paved West Rim Trail including many switchbacks (hiking down this trail gives you the impression that some trails do indeed impact the environment much more than rock climbing bolts, pitons, etc.). This takes you to Scout Lookout (5350') where you can see the last 0.5 miles up the Angels Landing Trail, along the Northwest Rib. This is a class 3 trail comprised of a hiking trail improved with chains for better handholds. The exposure in some areas is over 1000' feet making a fall fatal (very rare). You'll want to get up here first thing in the morning for any solitude since the summit is small and the visitors are legion.
Additional routes include:
GROTTO PICNIC AREA: Take UT SR-9 to Zion National Park and depending on the time of year stop at the South or East Entrance and take the shuttle or drive into the park on UT SR-9 and turn north on to Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. The trailhead is off the Zion Canyon Secnic Drive on the west side just 0.5 miles north of Zion Lodge (4276'). It is accessible via shuttle from March 28 to late October. Private vehicles are not allowed during this time so you should park at the visitor centers and take the shuttle between 6:30am and 11:00pm. See the Zion National Park Transportation Page for more information and schedules. If you are staying at the Zion Lodge you can park at the Lodge which is just 0.5 miles south of the Grotto reached by 2 hiking paths on either side of the North Fork of the Virgin River.
ENTRANCE FEE (MANDATORY): This is a fee-based US National Park. As of October, 2001 the most popular ways into the park involve fees of $20 per automobile for 7 days or $50 with an annual National Parks Pass. The Zion National Park Fees Page provides more information.
BIG WALL CLIMBING CLOSURE (MANDATORY): Many big wall climbing areas in Zion National Park, including Angels Landing, are closed from January 1 to August 1 during the Peregrine Falcon nesting season. This closure does not include the Angels Landing Trail. In any given year the falcons may or may not nest at certain sites and if they don't nest at a particular site, the park will typically open that area for climbing. For example, during March 2002, there was no nesting activity on Angels Landing so it was open for big wall climbing. For the most recent closure information, check with Zion National Park by calling the number listed in the Mountain Conditions section below.
When To Climb
It is possible to hike year round with the best weather generally being from March to November. The Zion Canyon National Scenic Drive is plowed year round and winters are generally mild. There is snow on the West Rim (6600+ feet), however, Angels Landing can often be climbed. See the Zion National Park Weather & Climate section for additional information on what the seasons are generally like. Most people will stop at Scout Lookout when the trail is covered in snow or icy. If you come in the winter / spring and it's raining at Zion, you can always drive up several thousand feet to Bryce Canyon to hike in the snow :-)
Big wall climbing is best during May and October. The surrounding months of April, June, September, and November often offer great weather but offer greater chances of storms and hot weather. For the technical wall climbs, make sure you check the "Big Wall Climbing Closure" information in the Red Tape section above. Wait a full day after rains to allow the rock to dry as Zion sandstone is weak when wet.
Generally camping is not needed on this hike though a number of backcountry camping sites are available nearby on the West Rim. Reservations, permits, and fees are needed for camping in the park. There are also a few car camping facilities.
marcminish adds: "There are a few places to camp for free just off the road leading into the park from the Interstate. It might not have the 'clean' look of a campground, but hey, it's free. Careful you don't camp on some very territorial cowboy's property."
Use the following resources for weather information.
ZION NATIONAL PARK
Springdale, UT 84767-1099
Tel: (435) 772-3256
Fax: (435) 772-3426
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