Camping and Hiking in Zion National Park has been on our bucket list for several years. We actually had it booked last year pre-skiing accident, but of course we had to cancel (can’t hike with a broken leg). We immediately booked it for this year (on our 17th Anniversary) and could hardly wait for our departure. Our first night we spent in Las Vegas and took in the view of the Bellagio Fountain while dining on the balcony at the Yellowfin. If you happen to be in Vegas they have amazing sushi! We had a good night sleep and headed to the meet-up spot at REI in Henderson, NV the next morning. After a few hours of travel, our first hike was a short one (Canyon Overlook) but gave us some perspective of the terrain, our travel legs some much needed movement and killer views.
Angels Landing Trial was our destination hike the second day and we were very excited (me a little nervous, I do well with distance and elevation, not so much heights). We knew the trail was going to be crowded since it was Memorial Weekend (why didn’t I think of this beforehand) but it was an amazing morning, so we hit the trail. With parking a premium, Zion has a great tram system which reduces traffic in the park and is very efficient. Our trailhead stop was Grotto Falls, we filled up with water, put on sunscreen, checked our gear and started our trek.
As you head up the first mile the tower of rock you see ahead of you is Angels Landing. As the trail gets steeper it becomes paved. Our first challenge was 21 steep switchbacks called Walter’s Wiggles.
And in the other direction this was the view.
We reached Refrigerator Canyon very quickly and realized why they call it Refrigerator Canyon as soon as we turned the corner, it felt like the AC was on. I am sure it had to do with the heat and the extreme climb up Walter’s Wiggles but it was noticeably cooler. AND I was photo bombed!
Minutes later we arrived at Scout’s Landing where we leave the West Rim Trail to do the final ascent to Angels Landing. Here we found the biggest challenge with a crowded trail, chains, and steep vertical rocks. I was a little hesitant, but decided to move forward (Joe, I wanted to have a story). You may not see it in the photo but the sign tells the death toll.
As I mentioned, I am terrified of heights, so the people with the cameras rolling while climbing made me even more nervous. I held onto the cables tightly and maneuvered up the steep rock cliff. WOW I made it to the top, or at least I thought it was the top. To my dismay this was just the top of Scout’s Landing see the large stone rock behind us, look closely they are climbing to the top there too. From Scout’s Landing you would go down the backside, cross a very exposed rock bridge, up the rock you are looking at, over and around. OK, I’m done! I looked at Chris and said “I’m going back” and I did…
The final climb to Angels Landing looked quite intimidating. I was a little panicked just getting to Scout’s Landing, on the first section of chains and had read it doesn’t get any better. From Chris’ perspective it was a very carefully placed hands and feet trek, mostly because the trail was so crowded (did I happen to mention it was Memorial Weekend, again note to self). But the views were amazing, a full 360 degree view of the canyon, since Angels Landing sits below the rim.
He made it!
Angels Landing was an amazing hike!
Dream Big, Then GO!
Check out the second half of this trip