Zion National Park, Angels Landing
On March 17th, 2019, Skip and I left Bryce Canyon National park and made our 80-mile travel to Zion National Park in Springdale, Utah. This was our second stop on our week vacation and our first official hike of the year.
Zion National park had so much to offer. There is no way of seeing the entire park in only a few days or, in our case, one day.
Besides our go-to activities, hiking, backpacking, bicycling, canyoneering (Climbing, rafting, or repelling through the canyon), mountain climbing, horseback riding, star gazing, rafting, and of course, bird watching. Click HERE to check out all the activities the park has to offer. Or our go-to is activity, hiking. Click HERE to check out all the trails within the park.
You may notice some beautiful plants, Pinon, Cliffrose, Mesquite Flourish, Globe-mallow, and Pinyon Pine, on any one of the actives you choose to do. Plus, you may come across a Golden Eagle, Mountain lion up in the mountain, or even a tiny Pinon Mice across the trail.
Camping in a national park is always a struggle, especially during spring break. Unfortunately, there were no campgrounds or boon-docking "camping in the non-designated campsite" outside of the park, and all the campgrounds within were full. On this infrequent occasion, we had to stay in a hotel for the night. Click HERE to reserve your campsite.
We were at the park for only a day then heading to the Grand Canyon in the morning. We had to pick one hike to accomplish and save the rest for another trip. We chose Angels Landing, which starts at Grotto Picnic Area. The free shuttle will take you directly to the trailhead. It is by far the most popular hike in the park and possibly the most memorizing.
There are two portions of the trail:
The main trek up to the landing, known as Walter's Wiggle, two miles long, and the landing itself, half a mile long. The entire trail is five miles round trip. You climb 1488 feet in elevation and are considered difficult on the Alltrails app. However, the only part of the trail that is difficult is the landing.
The first part of the trail, "Walter's Wiggle," is crowded with other hikers. It consists of 21 switchbacks that are paved, no shade and have a steady incline. I was 13 weeks pregnant, and we witnessed a lady wearing high heels hiking the trail, so the route is achievable. If you are scared of heights and know you would not hike the landing, Walter's wiggle is worth hiking to the rest before landing. The views are spectacular, and you still climb in elevation to get the perfect picture.
The landing itself is not for the weak-hearted or those of us who are deathly scared of heights. It is only a half-mile long, but you across a narrow sandstone ridge that requires you to hold on to a chain to walk because of the 1,000-foot drop. Nine people have died on the trail, which seemed like a lot until we got stuck behind the lady wearing the high heels trying to make her way up the steep incline holding a chain. She ended up not making it to the top but turning around for her safety and others.
I am terrified of heights, to the point I will throw up and pass out. I like to think being pregnant gave me superpowers to climb the trail because looking at photos now, I get sick thinking about it. It was completely worth it, which Skip proposed to me (No images, unfortunately).
The views at the top are hard to explain, it felt fake and looked like paintings. The colors were so vivid, and the textures were crystal clear. Not many people make it to the top, so it was less crowded, and we were able to get all the photos we wanted and enjoy the scenery in peace. This is the trail to take if you only have the day to explore Zion Canyon. We cannot wait to take another trip for a more extended period of time.
Some interesting facts and history about Zion National Park:
The park was established on November 19th, 1919, signed by Woodrow Wilson
The first Anglo- European settlers that arrived in the late 1800s named the land Zion
Zion in Hebrew means sanctuary or refuge
The park consists of 229 square miles
The canyon was carved over 250 million years by the virgin river.
The elevation of the park is 3,800 up to 8.800 feet
Zion was Utah's first national park
Zion has one of the most prominent freestanding arches in the world (Kolob Arch, 287 feet long)