Angels Landing Hike In Utah Comes With A Healthy Dose Of Terror

Angel's Landing Hike Utah

Flickr/Tracey Adams

Hey thrill-seekers, you’re going to like this one. This Utah hike in Zion National Park is basically a trail made entirely of switchbacks, chain ropes and rock scrambles. It’s not for hikers with a fear of heights.

Angels Landing is a four-hour hike, inclining nearly 1,500 feet over 5.4 miles. That’s a heck of an uphill trek. And the trail rises through steep drop-offs, meaning you get some crazy views along with a healthy dose of terror.

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The beginning of the hike is relatively easy. You begin on the West Rim trail, a nice wide path along the bottom of the canyon. From there, the switchbacks begin. You have plenty of those ahead of you.

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The next set of switchbacks is called “Walter’s Wiggles.” It’s 21 switchbacks nearly back-to-back. That means you’re climbing high without feeling it.

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From the top of the Wiggles, you’re able to take a break, get some water and prep yourself for the hard part. The views are pretty spectacular, but this is where the heights-phobic might want to turn around.

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Next up? A straight-up climb, with only a chain to hold onto as the path follows the top of the ridge. It’s nice and flat at first, so you can get adjusted to living on the edge.

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Then things get intense, with just inches between you and the cliff as you go the last few hundred feet to the top. It’s a long way down and all you’ve got to hold yourself up is a metal chain and your own balance.

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Not to stoke your fears even more, but people have died on this hike. If you’re feeling shaky, it’s probably not for you. However, tons and tons of people do it with bright and smiling faces.

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The view from the top makes it clear why people attempt such a crazy feat. It’s a panoramic vista of the classic Utah red rocks, with the canyon extending into the distance.

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To get to Angels Landing, you can take the free shuttle bus around the park. The trailhead for the hike is at the Grotto Trailhead. Pro tip: Take the earliest shuttle to avoid crowds (no fun on very narrow steep trails) and the hot Utah midday sun (you don’t want to sweat while you climb).


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