Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Hiking Angel's Landing, Zion National Park


Zion Canyon from Angel's Landing
Angel's Landing is one of the most famous, challenging (more on mental and emotional challenge than physical challenge) and thrilling hikes of the National Park System. The last half mile of the trail is not to be approached by anyone who has fear of heights. But this is also a pretty rewarding trail. For those with fear of heights can probably do the first 2 miles of the trail, there may be some drop-off in the first 2 miles, but the trail is more manageable than the last half mile.

Virgin River, Zion National Park
The start of the trail is the Grotto Trailhead ( or grotto shuttle stop).
From the trailhead, we crossed the Virgin River on a wooden footbridge. It is always interesting to see a lot of green and water in the desert. The first part of the trail just slowly ascends,

Slow Ascent in the First Part of the trail
and then the trail wiggles to gain significant change in elevation.

Winding West Rim Trail
The higher you go, the more beautiful the scenery you look down. After this winding West trail, the trail meanders through REfrigerator Canyon.

Refrigerator Canyon
This canyon always remain cool because of the tall steep walls providing a relief for hikers. It actually felt hiking in another slot canyon in going through this portion of the trail. After the cool Refrigerator Canyon, was the sight of the famous Walter Wiggles.

Walter's Wiggles
Though the picture above may not properly illustrate it, but this is a lot steeper than the first windy trail in the West Rim trail in the first portion of the trail. This is a series of 21 compact switchbacks that leads to Scouts Landing.

View from Scout's Landing
After Scout's Landing, the trail is chained to allow people to navigate the slick, narrow rocky ridge.
Chained Trail ( can you spot us? )
After Scout's Landing, the hike is like what others describe as a "step of faith". This is basically where the challenge is, not so much on the physical but mental and emotional. As you step on the foothold of the rocks, with only the chain to hold on to,
Chain To Assist Hikers in Reaching the Summit of Angel's Landing
looking down several thousands feet down the canyon floor, with some parts of the trail too narrow probably 3 ft wide only with major drop off on both sides, you only have your faith to hold on to, that you can make it if you will not panic! That is the very reason why they warn anyone not to hike this trail if they have fear of heights since fear can cause anxiety, fear can loss presence of mind, and one mistake may just be too dangerous.
Narrow Slick Rocky Geological Fin of Angels Landing Trail

Resting on the Trail
However, for those who can keep their presence of mind, the hike is actually safe enough, and can be enjoyed by hikers of all levels and children above 8 years old.There were a lot of people who attempted but turned around, with weakened knees as they could no longer afford to look down anymore. It is actually easier going up than going down, since going up one can avoid looking down, but going down, one has no choice but really to see the drop off on both sides of the trail.
What is at the top? well, the amazing view of the Zion Canyon where birds are freer to experience.
Resting at the Top of Angel's Landing
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  1. Beautiful pictures you got here Betchai! I admire you for being so adventurous. I can only try Sagada and still have yet to conquer some of their small 'falls and caves' hehe. :)

  2. Thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures betchai coz i don't think I'll walk the same path as you did! you are truly amazing!

  3. I do not think I would hike in the rain. I hate wet clothes, and would be afraid to slip, and fall. It is a beautiful place.

  4. This is an impressive place. I'm also impressed that you could hike this one, though I never had any doubt. You do some amazing things. I'm kind of glad I don't have anything like this where I am, though it's very beautiful. I think I would do it too, but I would have a lot of trouble overcoming fear first.

  5. Betchai,

    You're my woman hero, so adventurous, and talented. I can't imagine taking pictures and hiking at the same time.

    Incredible photos!!!

  6. I may not be able to climb this winding West Rim Trail, solely because of the height.
    I admire your capability and experience.
    Somehow all these places you have hiked are so amazing.

  7. You're making me crazy by posting such wonderful scenes. I so want to head west and see for myself :(

  8. That winding west rim trail looks difficult but what an outstanding vantage point. Such beautiful earthy shots. Love this post Betchai.

  9. I don't enjoy activities in the rain. I weathered severe weather conditions (including rain) whilst climbing up Mt KK couple of years ago and that has left an impression in me that I never want to experience something like that again. I prefer hiking/walking in nice and cool weather.

  10. I'm not fond of rocky mountains but your pictures beckon me to go and see them. Funny noh? It is because you picture them so attractively that it lures people. :-)

  11. You sure give a fascinating photo tour! My knees would be like jello, I'm so glad to see the trail this way. The views and colors are amazing. Thank you for sharing!

  12. Wow. Just wow. Those pictures are simply stunning!! I think these pictures have inspired me to take up hiking. Mind you, I've never been hiking before.

  13. I love hiking, but now I am so out of shape. I would love to do that trail even if I am afraid of heights.

  14. That is totally gorgeous! I suffer from fear of heights so it wouldn't be a great fit for me.

  15. Beth, the day I took hold of Doods's camera, I felt a small portion of the joy you feel whenever you take these wonderful photos. Photography is such a delight! But I may not be brave enough to hike in the "adventuresome" trails you've been. I'll cross the bridge when I get there (teehee). I so admire your photos Beth, you do take them at nice angles! You are brave to walk traverse in those uneven trails! Bravo, girlfriend!

  16. hahahahahaha, i think you will have a hard time baby-sitting me on a hike with you Betchai because i am so fearsome of heights hahahahaha, i'll just hike with you in the meantime in my dreams...

  17. I can't imagine going on that hike. The view is gorgeous though. I love it.

  18. I am saving some time off for this trip. Also I am doing some diet and work out so I can be a good hiker like you.

    How amazing Mother Nature has provided us with this splendor!

  19. Im working on a national park project for school and I want to know the different costs for acadia national park in maine. If you answer, please cite your sources.

  20. i can't imagine myself hiking with you there. like kulasa, you'll definitely have a hard time babysitting me. lol!
    Angels Landing is a perfect name for Khai! :)

  21. loveable post.thank for this cool blog.

  22. Second photo is my love. Such an expressive shot to me.