Angel's Landing hike in Zion National Park has been on my bucket list for years! I love hiking but it looked really intimidating so I never really perused it. When I did start doing research on Angel's Landing I couldn't find a lot of info, just the basic stuff, like that it was 5 miles, strenuous, and I needed to pack lots of water. ok, ok, but I wanted to know what do expect. Would I even be able to make it? Could my kids do it? How hard is it really?
I found a couple YouTube videos that completely freaked me out but also inspired me to actually plan a trip and check this hike off my bucket list once and for all. I called a friend that had hiked it and she said I could totally do it because I was in good shape... uh... I wasn't in good shape though. I mean, I went hiking often but I definitely was out of breath if the hike was steep and I knew this hike was. I was so excited for this hike, I wanted to enjoy it, not just endure it. So I knew that getting into shape first was vital.
So there are 2 things I wanted to share today, #1, how I got ready to hike Angel's Landing, and #2 I'll be sharing a step by step guide of the hike. Something I never found in my research. So you will be as prepared as possible for this incredible adventure.
Just so you know, I passed 2 people that turned back, they said it was to hard so you really want to be prepared. And I just have to say, I hiked to the tippy top without breaking a sweat! And I didn't have to stop to rest once! Thats really saying something!
#1 As soon as I set a date for our trip I hit the gym. I partnered with Gold's Gym to prepare for the hike 6 months before our trip. Gold's has locations all over Utah so I knew I would be able to work out where ever I was at, and they offered so many options. I did classes, weights and cardio to prepare for the hike. And as a bonus, I ended up losing 8 lbs!!! I'm only 5'2" so 8lbs is like 20 for a normal person.
Another thing I loved about Golds was the daycare and the free massage chairs. They really made working out something I looked forward to everyday.
After working out for 3 solid months I felt like my stamina and endurance were up and I was thrilled to be fitting into my clothes better. I was looking great and I felt amazing. I knew I was ready for the hike.
#2 Now I'll be sharing with you a step by step guide to the hike so you know exactly what to expect. There are 41 switchbacks! Almost the entire hike is straight up. It is definitely not for those that have a fear of heights. At least 8 people have dead on this hike! It's not to be taken lightly. Don't goof off. Be prepared. I saw people hiking in swimsuits and flip flops! Be sure you are dressed properly. Wear good hiking shoes, take water and a hat or sunscreen, food is a good idea too. Hiking with a partner is always smart. Watch your step. Stay on the trail and you will be fine. I saw several families with young kids turn around half way because the kids couldn't make it (they wouldn't have been safe to do the whole hike, but there is a spot to rest before you reach the ropes that they could sit and wait with an adult while others in your group hike). I took my 11 year old and he did amazing. I would have taken my 9 year old too if I had known how well my 11 year old did). I don't recommend children under the age of 8. And all children under 16 should have an adult companion leading/following them. And they should be informed about safety and what to expect before you go.
I think thats everything, if you have any other questions please let me know in the comments.
The FREE shuttle drops you off right here at the bridge, the trail head is on the other end.
The trial starts out with a simple incline and is paved on parts, then gradually gets steeper.
This is about half way up the first mountain!
They have worked to make the trials really nice and safe. Just stay away from the edge.
After what seems like never ending switchbacks, the trail evens out for about 10 minutes when you reach the top of the first mountain. This is a nice shaded trail to rest up before the 2nd set of switchbacks.
More switch backs! These take you up to the second mountain peak where there is a rest area and bathrooms.
These switch backs were the hardest part for me. up up up.
This is the top of the first part of the hike! Here you will find bathrooms and it's a great rest area for a break before the real fun begins. If you did bring small children with you on the hike, this is where you will want to stop with them. You can have one adult stay here with the kids while the rest of the party hikes to the peak, then you can swap and let the other adult go. Children under 8 should not continue beyond this point.
Ok this is it! This is where the terrifying fun begins! Take it slow, no need to rush. If someone needs to come down while you are going up, just find a spot to step aside. We had to pass people quite often on this part of the trial and everyone was very kind and helpful and full of encouragement.
I was so impressed with my 11 year old. He was well educated about the hike and a little scared (as was I) but he proved he was very responsible and cautious. He built so much confidence on this hike and it was a great teaching opportunity on how to be a responsible hiker.
We made it to the top! YES! The views were spectacular! And the best part... I didn't even break a sweat! I swear! Not a drop! (thanks to Golds Gym)! And I felt great! I didn't even need a break!
It was the most beautiful day. I think it helped that it was a cool day in March and it was in the morning. As we were heading back down, everyone we passed was just dripping with sweat! Another reason to go early. It gets hot in Zion!
Here I am, 36 years old, mom of 4 kids (and pregnant with #5! I didn't even know at the time). And I did it! I hiked Angel's Landing! It was SO scary, and thrilling and beautiful. Something I will never forget. I worked hard to prepare and it paid off! I passed a woman on the way up that said she wished she had hiked Angel's Landing with her kids when they were young. She said now they were all grown and moved away. She said she would give anything to go back and make these memories with them.
Heading back down the roped cliffs
Looking back, I'm so glad I took the time to prepare physically and was really able to enjoy this experience. I'm not an athlete but a little prep in the gym worked wonders. There were people that were really struggling the entire way, I know that would have been me if I hadn't worked out before hand.
This 5 miles hike took us 3.3 hours total. That includes stopping for photos and a snack at the top. We didn't rush, we just took our time and enjoyed the journey. It is recommended to plan for 3-5 hours. And depending on the crowds, it could take longer. We recommend going first thing in the morning at 7am when the gates open (take a jacket, it's cold in the morning). We went at 8 am and there were only a few dozen people on the trail. On our way down the trail we passed a steady stream of hikers, we passed well over 100 people! It's was crazy! And the shuttle to get into the park had a huge waiting line. In the morning you can walk right on to the shuttles, no lines!