Guide to hiking Angels Landing scenic trail

Planning Your Angels Landing Hike

by | Apr 15, 2023

Angels Landing is one of the most popular hikes in Zion and one of the most famous in the country. Hiking this iconic trail is a bucket-list item for many travelers visiting the park. 

But if you have your heart set on an Angels Landing hike during your stay at Zion Wildflower Resort, there are a few things you’ll want to do ahead of time to prepare. Keep reading to learn what you need to do before and after you arrive at the park.

Get Your Permit

The very first thing that you should do to prepare for your Angels Landing hike is to get a permit. Starting in 2022, the National Park Service implemented the Angels Landing Pilot Permit Program. This program is designed to help curb overcrowding on the trail, both to protect the park’s delicate ecosystems and to help keep hikers safe.

Under the new system, anyone hiking past Scouts Lookout will need to present a valid permit. Permits are available through two lotteries; the Seasonal Lottery and the Day-Before Lottery.

To increase your chances of getting a permit for your choice of dates, you’ll want to enter the Seasonal Lottery. As the name suggests, this lottery is open four times a year, and awards permits for the following season. If you don’t get a permit during this lottery, you can enter the Day-Before lottery each day of your visit to try to get a permit for the following day. 

Didn’t get a permit for Angels Landing? This is the only trail in the park that requires a permit. There are plenty of other trails you can enjoy instead if you have to change your plans at the last minute.

Prepare for Your Hike

In the weeks or months leading up to your Angels Landing hike, you’ll want to do a little preparation. Look for hiking trails in your area that offer some elevation change. If you don’t have access to local trails, you can also build up your strength and endurance in the gym.

If you’re planning your Angels Landing hike in the summer, late spring, or early fall, you’ll also want to make sure that you’re acclimated to the heat, too. Run, walk, or hike outdoors, and practice staying hydrated and protecting your skin from the sun.

Pack the Right Gear

Researching what to pack for Zion is also something you’ll want to do in the weeks leading up to your big hike. A great-fitting pair of hiking boots that you’ve broken in is a must. So is clothing that’s appropriate for the elements. This includes lightweight, moisture-wicking clothes for hot summer hikes and warmer layers that you can add or shed for an off-season hike.

Other items that should be on your list of what to pack for Zion include:

  • A backpack or hydration pack
  • Water bottles
  • Trail snacks
  • Sunscreen
  • A small first-aid kit

Check the Weather

Much of the Angels Landing hike is in the sun, with little shade. This means that whether it’s hot and sunny or rainy and cold, you’ll be exposed to the elements. 

Before hitting the trail, make sure to check the weather forecast. You can also stop by the Zion Canyon Visitor Center to talk to a ranger about trail conditions for the day.

Hit the Trail Early

Angels Landing is a little over five miles roundtrip. Most hikers spend between four and five hours on the trail. If you’re planning a hike during the summer months, it’s a good idea to hit the trail early in the day. This will help you get most or all of the hike done before the hottest part of the day. 

Take Frequent Breaks

During your Angels Landing hike, don’t be afraid to take plenty of breaks. The trail has some challenging features. Walter’s Wiggles is a set of 21 steep switchbacks that have hikers climbing some 250 feet of elevation over a short distance. The famous ridgeline hike is also sure to get your heart beating as you traverse the narrowest section of the trail with steep drop-offs on either side.

Whether you’re getting tired or feeling the effects of the heat, take a break to cool off, drink some water, and maybe fuel up with a snack.

Preparing for Your Angels Landing Hike

There’s a good reason why this trail is so popular. Angels Landing is a truly iconic, bucket-list-worthy hike. But it’s also a challenging trail that takes the right gear and plenty of experience. Planning ahead for your Angels Landing hike can ensure that you enjoy a safe, fun hike on the big day.

Where you stay during your visit is another important factor to consider. Staying close to the park makes it easier to get to the trailhead early in the day, and to get back to your room for some rest after your hike.

Zion Wildflower Resort is located just a 20-minute drive from the park. With a wide range of accommodations, from our Zion National Park bungalows to our Watchman Tents, each of our unique options provides a comfortable, fun basecamp for your next adventure. Right now, when you book a stay of three or more nights before April 30, you can enjoy a 20 percent discount on your stay! Use code STAYWILD3 during checkout.

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