no permit, no problem alternatives to an angels landing hike

No Permit, No Problem: Alternatives to an Angels Landing Hike

by | May 8, 2023

Even if you’ve never been to Zion National Park, you’ve likely heard of Angels Landing. This iconic trail is known for the incredible views at the summit, as well as the challenging obstacles you’ll have to face to get there. There’s a section of trail that has hikers traversing a narrow ridgeline, with only a chain handrail to offer support as they face down steep drop-offs on either side. There’s also Walter’s Wiggles, a set of steep switchbacks that is certain to get your heart pounding.

The trail has famously attracted hundreds of thousands of annual hikers. But in 2022, enjoying an Angels Landing hike during your stay at Zion Wildflower Resort got a little more difficult.

Now, a permit is required if you want to hike past Scouts Lookout. A limited number of permits are available each day. To get one, you’ll need to enter one of the two lotteries; the Seasonal Lottery and the Day-Before Lottery. Entering the Seasonal Lottery a few months before your stay in hotels near Zion National Park can increase your odds of getting a permit. But what happens if you don’t get one? Don’t fret; there are plenty of other trails to choose from!

Keep reading to learn a few great alternatives to an Angels Landing hike.

Observation Point

If you’re seeking a hike that offers similar panoramic views to Angels Landing, the Observation Point Trail is an excellent choice. This challenging eight-mile round-trip trail rewards hikers with breathtaking vistas of the park, including a bird’s-eye view of the iconic Angels Landing formation. 

The trail begins at the Weeping Rock trailhead and ascends steep switchbacks, providing a good workout for those looking to push their limits. The view of Zion Canyon from Observation Point is truly awe-inspiring and will leave you with unforgettable memories and some great photos to take home after your stay in the best hotels Virgin Utah has to offer.

The Narrows

One trail that rivals an Angels Landing hike is the Narrows. This trail is perhaps even more unique than Angels Landing. 

Hikers travel up or downstream through the Virgin River, surrounded by towering canyon walls that narrow as you progress further into the canyon. The hike itself is in the river, and you’ll need to wade through ankle-deep water, occasionally reaching waist height. If you want to hike the full 16 miles of the Narrows, you’ll need a backcountry permit, as well as the right gear to stay overnight on the trail. But you can also walk the short Riverside Walk, take a few steps down to the river, and hike upstream for a ways to get a taste for this trail.

The unique beauty of the narrow canyon walls, the cool waters, and the sense of adventure make this hike an unforgettable experience. While no permit is required for day hiking, it’s essential to check the weather and be aware of flash flood warnings as conditions can change rapidly.

The Narrows closes each spring due to high water levels caused by melting snow. This year, the closure is expected to last into June. So if you are dreaming of taking on the Narrows this year, you’ll want to book your stay in hotels near Zion National Park later in the summer or fall.

Canyon Overlook Trail

One of the things that makes an Angels Landing hike or a hike on the Narrows so unique is that they combine great views with an incredible adventure. If you’re looking for an easier trail that replicates this, Canyon Overlook Trail is a great choice.

This trail is just one-mile round trip, making it short enough for inexperienced or younger hikers, or if you’re in a rush. The trail is located in Zion’s Upper Canyon, which means that you won’t need to hop on the Zion Canyon Shuttle to get to it. Instead, you can drive straight to the trailhead from hotels near Zion National Park like Zion Wildflower Resort.

After parking at the trailhead, you’ll face a short, relatively flat trail. While this trail is fairly easy to hike, it does have some very steep drop-offs and rocky, uneven sections that might make it dangerous for children or anyone with mobility issues. At the trail’s summit, you’ll have incredible views of Zion’s Lower Canyon, as well as some of the park’s most famous formations.

Choosing the Best Alternative to an Angels Landing Hike

Whether you didn’t get a permit or are looking for some other incredible trails to enjoy, these are just a few of the best alternatives to an Angels Landing hike. Whether you’re visiting Zion Wildflower Resort with kids or are hoping to pack in plenty of challenging hiking, there’s no shortage of trails to choose from at every difficulty level and length.

Now, there’s an even better reason to book your stay at Zion Wildflower. Our brand-new pool is the perfect spot for swimming in Zion! After a morning of hiking, cool off in the pool while taking in the incredible views around you. Or, plan a day at the resort for some swimming in Zion and enjoying the other on-site amenities our Virgin, Utah hotel has to offer. Book your stay today to start planning your own Zion adventure!

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