Zion National Park is known for its outstanding scenery. You can see a lot of its splendor from the road, but to really get a feel of it you should hit its trails. If you are not the faint of heart, go straight for the best – Angels Landing, one of the most famous hikes in the world. You will be climbing steadily. You will be pulling yourself up with chains, and you will feel weak at your knees, but with the ever changing scenery, each step will be worth the effort. When you finally arrive the summit, with the whole world at your feet, you will truly feel that you reached the place where only angels can land.

Angels Landing hike in Utah's Zion National Park is not for everyone, but for those who complete it is a life time adventure.

Zion National Park, Angels Landing Trail – photo by Yvonne Jasinski Credit Card TravelingMom

Angels Landing – an Epic Hike in Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National park is one of those places I could never get enough of. So when the opportunity presented itself to visit it again, I did not hesitate. The fact that I was able to pay for my airline tickets and a car rental with points I accumulated with my credit cards made my decision even easier.

Angels Landing hike in Utah's Zion National Park is not for everyone, but for those who complete it is a life time adventure.

This is an easy part of Angels Landing Hike at Zion National Park – photo by Yvonne Jasinski Credit Card TravelingMom

It was my second visit to Zion, so much different that my first one 22 years before. This time, I did not have a infant with me which gave me more freedom to explore this beautiful park.

I knew exactly which hikes to take. Angels Landing was at the top of my list. I am afraid of heights and I knew it would be a challenge for me, but I was not going to give up without trying.

According to the legend, in 1916 one of the explorers to the region, Frederick Fisher, made a remark that “only an angel could land on it.” An angel in me felt a strong desire to try it.

Angels Landing hike in Utah's Zion National Park is not for everyone, but for those who complete it is a life time adventure.

Spectacular scenery all the way up at Angels Landing Hike at Zion National Park – photo by Yvonne Jasinski Credit Card TravelingMom

Is this hike for you?

Angels Landing is not an ordinary hike. Since the park’s establishment in 1919, five fatalities have been recorded. Extreme caution on the trail is critical.

Angels Landing hike in Utah's Zion National Park is not for everyone, but for those who complete it is a life time adventure.

Angels Landing Hike at Zion National Park – photo by Yvonne Jasinski Credit Card TravelingMom

If you are afraid of heights, think twice before attempting this hike. I made it without a panic attack, so I guess my acrophobia is on the milder side. Still, last half a mile was challenging physically and mentally.

You need to be in a descent physical shape to make the last portion of the hike. It is a full body workout. Chains are there not only to keep you from falling down. You need them to pull yourself up on steep slippery rocks. Good hiking boots are a must!

Children are not allowed on the trail.

When to Go

The trip organizer, a frequent visitor to the park, proposed the end of October as our time to visit. I agreed without questioning. I trusted his judgment. He was right; I can’t picture a better time to go.

Zion National Park is a desert so there was no typical foliage, but scattered yellow trees added to the beauty of the area. It was still very warm, upper 70’s. The air was clear and the sky was as blue as it could be.

Angels Landing hike in Utah's Zion National Park is not for everyone, but for those who complete it is a life time adventure.

Fall is in the air at Zion National Park – photo by Yvonne Jasinski Credit Card TravelingMom

The park is best visited between March and October. Starting with April, crowds arrive and peak during the summers. Angels Landing, like the rest of the park, is very crowded during July and August. It is also very hot at that time of year. Keep in mind the trail is fully exposed to the sun, without any shade whatsoever. 

How to find a trail head  to Angels Landing

Between April 1st and October 31st, Zion National Park can only be accessed by the shuttle. To reach the trail, you need to park at Zion Canyon Visitor Center and get off at the Grotto shuttle stop.

The trails starts at Grotto picnic area. During the rest of the year, you are allowed to park at the Grotto.

Angels Landing hike in Utah's Zion National Park is not for everyone, but for those who complete it is a life time adventure.

Zion National Park, Angels Landing Trail – photo by Yvonne Jasinski Credit Card TravelingMom

Description of the trail

There were four of us who attempted this five mile round trip hike. It takes 3 to 6 hours to hike the trail completely. I recommend six, not only to catch your breath once in while, but primarily to enjoy the scenery.

Elevation gain is 1500 feet and you will feel it every step of the way. The first two miles are steep but the trail is wide, safe, and well maintained. There are numerous switchbacks which eventually get more narrow and even steeper.

The last half mile is when you need to decide if you are really up to it. Many hikers turn around here, including two of my friends who started the hike with me. I was determined to make it all the way.

Angels Landing hike in Utah's Zion National Park is not for everyone, but for those who complete it is a life time adventure.

Hanging on for dear life at Angels Landing Hike at Zion National Park – photo by Yvonne Jasinski Credit Card TravelingMom

I felt very happy that Yong, my dear adventurous friend, was ready to continue with me. What we saw in front of us was not inviting at all –  a narrow sandstone passage with sheer cliffs on both sides. Now I know that the trail drops 1200 feet on one side and 800 feet on the other side!

From that point on it was a chain-assisted scramble over very slippery rocks. I could not imagine anyone making it without these chains. They keep you on the trail, reduce your fear of falling, and help you to move forward. It was a full body workout with my arms at times working much harder than my legs.

Becoming an Angel

I hiked a lot of beautiful trails, like famous The Wave,  but Angels Landing became a category of its own for its level of difficulty, uniqueness, and outstanding scenery. I also love the fact that Yong and I officially became angels – we landed where only angels can land!

Angels Landing hike in Utah's Zion National Park is not for everyone, but for those who complete it is a life time adventure.

Two new angels landed at Angels Landing Hike at Zion National Park – photo by Yvonne Jasinski Credit Card TravelingMom

During this trip, we stayed at beautiful  Zion  Mountain Ranch

Many outstanding Utah’s hiking trails can be accessed from nearby Cottonwood Wood Road