Angels Landing, Zion NP
Being quite afraid of heights I’m really not sure what possessed me to even think about doing this hike but somewhere I manage to pull enough courage to set my foot on the trail, and holding firmly to the chains, make it all the way to the top. My heart beat fastens few times, but my legs surprisingly never get wobbly, and I even do not get dizzy at the top so that I can actually enjoy the views.
For those not familiar with this hike in Zion NP, the trail is initially flat as it crosses the valley around Virgin River. The leisurely walk does not last too long, after about 10 minutes the switchbacks come and lead hikers steeply up to area called Refrigeration Canyon. Those who do not start early enough to beat the heat can find a brief refuge from the sun here and much welcome breeze.
Another set of switchbacks starts shortly afterwards, ever steeper than the lower ones; however the trail is still paved in this portion of the hike, and taking it easy, we see people of all ages and many with questionable conditioning successfully completing this part.
Scouts Lookout atop the switchbacks makes a decent viewpoint and a good turnaround point for those in less than good shape or those who are not much of thrill seekers. The last half mile is a narrow, exposed ridge with sheer drop offs of each side. Most of the ridge is aided by metal chains but some steps still can be rather intimidating.
The views from the top are pretty amazing and if the conditions are good (rock dry, not super windy)going down is, to my surprise, much easier than I feared it would to be while we were heading up.
RT: 5 miles
Elevation Gain: 1448 ft