angel’s landing

This weekend Jack and I flew out to Denver to meet with Ray and drive back with him to California. On our way back we took a slight detour to Zion National Park in southern Utah to hike Angel’s Landing.

IMGP3548On road trips there are many different conversations. At one point we talked about the ‘ones that got away.’ We won’t be going into which girls in my life are the ‘ones that got away’ (at least not ever on this blog), but Angel’s Landing is sort of the hike that got away.

I had originally planned to hike Angel’s Landing the last time I was in Zion, which was a few years ago. I had finished hiking the Zion Narrows with my friends Tim and Warren, but by the end of that hike we had found that we were too exhausted and our feet were too blistered from hiking in water for two days to attempt another hike.

This time Angel’s Landing was the only hike on the agenda, so I was finally gonna summit the hike that got away from me. Actually now that I think about it, there’s still Mount Whitney, another hike that got away from me. I’ll probably try that one again later this year if I can get a permit.


The hike starts at the Grotto shuttle stop. From there you cross a bridge and begin hiking towards Angel’s Landing, which is clearly visible in front of you the whole way. It was pretty hot, probably almost 100 degrees, which made the start of the hike pretty unpleasant.

IMGP3587But as we started to gain elevation on the switchbacks it started to cool off and become much more pleasant.

IMGP3615After the first set of switchbacks the trail levels off into a narrow canyon area before getting to a second set of switchbacks. Here the trail gains a ton of elevation very quickly.

IMGP3661The view from the top of the second set of switchbacks is really cool, we stopped here to take a bunch of pictures and a few group shots.

IMGP3721Then comes the chain section. There are some sketchy sections where there’s a steep drop below, and also some sections which require you to scramble using your hands and feet.

IMGP3730There’s also a really narrow section with sheer drops on both sides. From here it’s over a thousand feet to the canyon floor.

IMGP3729Several times during the chain section I thought to myself, “What the heck, we’re going up that?!” Those times I tried to reassure myself, thinking that it just looks bad viewing it straight on from afar.

IMGP3756But I was wrong. Those sections looked just as crazy up close.

IMGP3785The peak is relatively flat and wide though. And the views from the top are nothing short of breathtaking.

IMGP3790Ray looks towards the entrance of Zion.

IMGP3794While I look the other way towards the Temple of Sinawava.

IMGP3765From the top you can see the famous river bend area of Zion. I can just barely get the entire area into the frame with my wide angle lens.

The hike back down was pretty sketchy at times, but it wasn’t as bad as some of the hikes in the past few weeks, namely the descent from Half Dome and the descent from Pyramid Peak. I’d definitely do this hike again if I’m in the area again.

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