Spend a few minutes in the Zion National Park Visitor's Center and you'll hear folks joking around about the Angels Landing hike. Browse the gift store and you'll notice many souvenirs stating: "I survived Angels Landing". Hmmm...I want to survive Angels Landing too!
My sister and I (my wife opted out due to her fear of heights:) picked a day, woke up early, and hit the park. Despite the warm-looking pics, the mid-April temps can get chilly in the morning. We layered clothing and hopped on a park shuttle, getting off at the Grotto stop to start the trail.
Don't say they didn't warn you about the steep & narrow trail, dangerous cliffs, potential death, etc! The trail starts out easy enough but quickly climbs with turns and a few longer switchbacks. The first 2 miles are paved:)
You'll have a moment to rest with some great views of Zion Canyon & the Virgin River below before you head into a smaller valley - a great time to catch your breath before you hit a series of 21 short switchbacks known as Walter's Wiggles…yikes.
If you survive the Wiggles (it's really not that bad), you'll make it to Scout Lookout. This is enough for a lot of hikers - my sister included. The rest of the trail was all me (and Karl Malone - more on that later).
Luckily there was a few poles and a chain between me and sudden death!
I actually made it to here (pic above) and thought it was over…then I realized it keeps going to the end of the ridge…!
Then, I made it to the end of the trail (the top at 5,790 ft)…what a view of Zion Canyon and the Virgin River below.
All and all, the 5 mile roundtrip Angels Landing trail wasn't that bad. It was very steep and stay away if you're afraid of heights. The average time for the hike is 5 hours but I completed it in way less (like 3). There's little shade but the trail is well maintained. Take extra of food & water!
As I rejoined my sister at Scout Lookout we noticed that one of our fellow hikers looked familiar. We hiked down and we heard a voice from another random hiker behind us,
"Hey, guys…do you watch the NBA?"
I mean, I used to, like 10 years ago…
"That was Karl Malone that just passed us!"
Huh. He was right. At first I thought it a bit cliche, I mean, should you see Karl Malone every time you visit Utah? Surely not. But hey, what-do-you-know: Karl and I survived Angels Landing!
~Paul, Sis, the Mailman
P.S. Come back to the blog Thursday for some death-defying Gopro video of the hike:)