I’m not much of a daredevil, but when I’m traveling, I do try to get out of my comfort zone and do something I usually wouldn’t. During my first visit to Zion National Park (Utah, USA), I only had one goal: hike to the top of Angels Landing, one of the scariest hiking trails in the world.
Why is Angels Landing so scary?
First things first: why is the hike to Angels Landing so scary? It’s pretty strenuous, it’s 4,5 kilometers uphill and you walk the same way back, so it’s 9 kilometers in total. The last kilometer is the scary part, the pathway is very narrow and, on both sides, there are sheer drops of 300 meters or more. So hiking this trail is maybe not the best idea if you’re afraid of heights. Before you start the trail, you’ll see this warning sign, because people have died while hiking on this trail.
But in the end, it’s absolutely worth it. The views are absolutely stunning! Just don’t go hiking in flip-flops or get to close to the edge.
The hike starts pretty easily, you follow a nice pathway next to the Virgin River. It has some shade and some cactuses (they are so pretty!). From here you’ll have a good view of your goal: Angels Landing.
Then it’s time to start climbing. To make this at easy as possible, there are switchbacks, loads of them. At first, you’ll be okay, but quickly you’ll get tired of them. They seem endless! But go on, it will be worth it! Don’t rush it and you’ll be fine. Make sure to get here early, after 12, there won’t be any shade on this part of the trail (especially in the summer).
Time for a break
After you’re done with the switchbacks (yes!) it’s time for something easier. The path is pretty flat, so you don’t have to climb for a bit. If you’re lucky, you can even spot some wildlife on this part (I spotted some deers).
After this relaxing walk, you’ll reach the second part of the switchbacks, called Walter’s Wiggles. These are very short, you’ll constantly turn around. I found this part to be really difficult, make sure to take a lot of breaks.
The end of the easy part
After Walter’s Wiggles, you’ll reach the first viewpoint, which is a really nice place to take a break. Watch out for the chipmunks though, they’ll get into your back and steal your food. At this point, you can see what’s next: the scary part!
Hold on to the chains
To continue the trail, you’ll follow the path up the mountain. It will be narrow at some points, so be careful. There’s not really a path, more like rock climbing to the top. There will be loads of chains to hold on to, it makes it a bit easier to climb.
You made it: Angels Landing!
According to a legend, reaching the top was so hard, only angels could land here, hence the name Angels Landing. Making it to the top will feel like a victory and the view is absolutely stunning. It’s time to relax, take loads of pictures and enjoy the view!
What’s the scariest hike you’ve ever done?
Would you like to read more about Zion National Park or Utah?