I wasn’t sure if I could do this trail. I even hiked two shorter trails to warm up…get the nerve…to try Angel’s Landing. I’ve heard so much about it, but it was cold, snow was predicted, and my ego was getting the best of me. After a 2-mile pep-talk I took a left on the trail towards Angel’s Landing.
The start of the trail is stunning. Not too terribly daunting. And you run into some really amazing people with the same goal, hiking this iconic trail. It’s not long before you start the switchbacks and increased elevation. Brace yourself, you may need to stop at each one to catch your breath. The trails are paved and wide as they start to work their way up.
About a mile into the trip the snow started to roll in. It was beautiful! However, the pavement started to get slick. The trekking poles were helpful to keep me stable as the clouds nestled in. It wasn’t long before I put on trekking spikes. These are spikes that you can add to the bottom of any shoe and can be purchased at most outdoor stores. I got to the top of the main trail to take in spectacular views, make a pit stop (Scout’s Landing has restrooms), and see my brother and nephew working their way down the chain trail that leads to the peak. The last leg, one that requires clinging to chain railing, is not an option for me. My fear of heights would get the best of me for sure. But it looked beautiful and everyone making that trek had big smiles on their faces.
My favorite part of this trail is the people I met. Because it is strenuous, I took a lot of breaks. They were perfect spots to strike up conversations about where we are from, how we are holding up on the trail, what other trails we’ve done, etc. We ended up playing leapfrog the entire way up the trail. We cheered each other on and celebrated progress. It made it more personal and exciting. While those friendships lasted the length of the trail, it felt really good to go through the experience with people. The support and genuine excitement for one another was heartfelt and pure.
Location: Zion National Park (Utah)
Distance: 5.4 miles (roundtrip)
Elevation change: 1,488
Parking: Shuttle stop #6 The Grotto
Bathrooms: Restrooms are available at The Grotto shuttle stop. They also have water if you need a quick refill of your water bottle. Another restroom is located at Scouts Lookout (near the peak of the trail)
What to wear: Pay attention to the weather. I went on a snowy day and I wore layers of clothes, a hat, scarf, gloves, and hiking boots. I would say hiking boots are a must. I really benefitted from hiking poles. And if you are going in cold weather, pack the spikes. It was really helpful to have them when I got to the icy patches on the trail. You may not need them the entire time, but they are very light to pack just in case.
What to pack:
- Water! Water! Water! It’s dry and you will need to stay hydrated.
- Hiking poles