Trail warning sign at Angels Landing, Zion National Park.

Top Tips for Hiking Angels Landing Zion

by | Feb 9, 2023

Angels Landing Zion National Park is often touted as one of the most iconic trails in the United States. It’s also sometimes called one of the most dangerous.

The trail’s dangerous reputation is often a result of the narrow ridgeline that Angels Landing is famous for. This section of trail can certainly be dangerous. However, the rest of the hike presents some challenges as well. This hike is definitely a bucket-list-worthy destination for hikers. But it isn’t one that you should take on unprepared

If you’re thinking about hiking Angels Landing during your Zion Wildflower stay, keep reading. We’re breaking down the tips you need to enjoy a fun, safe hike on Angels Landing Zion.

Plan Ahead to Increase Your Chance of Getting a Permit

Whether it’s been a few years since you hiked Angels Landing or you’re hiking it for the first time, this tip can be easy to miss. In 2022, the National Park Service launched its new Angels Landing Pilot Permit Program. Angels Landing has been growing in popularity for a number of years now. This has led to dangerous crowding on the trail. Under the new permit program, anyone hoping to hike past Scouts Lookout on Angels Landing needs to have a permit.

You have two chances to grab a permit for your choice of date. If you’re planning a last-minute trip, you can use the Day-Before Lottery for one last chance. But if you have your heart set on hiking this iconic trail, make sure that you’re planning ahead to enter the Seasonal Lottery. As the name suggests, this lottery opens up four times each year. Each time, it awards permits for the following season.

Wear the Right Gear

Perhaps the most important tip that you can follow if you’re hiking Angels Landing Zion for the first time is to make sure that you’re wearing the right clothes and packing the right gear.

Angels Landing is best known for the narrow section of the ridgeline that hikers climb while facing down steep drop-offs. But Angels Landing is a challenging trail for other reasons, too. The trail is 5.4 miles roundtrip, with almost 1,500 feet of elevation gain. Much of the trail is in direct sun. This can make it particularly challenging on a warm day.

Wearing lightweight, moisture-wicking clothing is a must. You’ll want to apply sunscreen before your hike, and likely reapply during it as well. If you’re prone to sunburns or want some extra protection, consider wearing a lightweight, UV-blocking top and pants as well. If you’re hiking in cooler temperatures, consider dressing in layers. That way, you can shed or add throughout the day as you warm up or cool down.

Another must-have is a good pair of hiking boots. Opt for boots that are comfortable and supportive, but that also offer good tread to help you keep your balance on the trail.

Consider wearing a backpack to carry your water bottle and other gear. That way, you can have both hands free for climbing the ridgeline, allowing you to keep a hold on the chain handrails. Secure cameras, cellphones, water bottles, and other loose items before you get to this section of the trail to avoid losing anything during your hike.

Pack More Water Than You Expect to Use

If there’s one piece of gear that you absolutely can’t hike Angels Landing Zion without, it’s a water bottle—or several. As a general rule, hikers should plan to drink around one-half-liter of water for every hour of moderate hiking in moderate temperatures. When hiking challenging Angel’s Landing, especially on a hot day, you’ll likely need to drink significantly more to stay properly hydrated.

Always pack more water than you think you’ll need on your hike. That way, if you drink more than expected or the hike takes longer than you thought that it would, you’ll be prepared.

Watch the Weather

Rain, snow, and ice on Angels Landing can turn a fun hike into a dangerous experience, especially if you aren’t properly prepared. A couple of days ahead of your hike, start checking the weather. This can help you figure out what to wear and pack for your hike.

Then, check the weather on the day of your hike. If dangerous weather is headed your way, consider moving your hike to another day, or adjusting the time that you plan to hike. If you’re worried about conditions on the trail, consider stopping by the Zion Canyon Visitor Center on your way into the park to talk to a ranger and get some advice.

Staying in Zion National Park resorts like Zion Wildflower makes it easy to adjust your plans throughout the day. If the morning calls for rain, you can wait and start your hike in the early afternoon instead. Zion Wildflower Resort is located just 25 minutes from the entrance to Zion National Park, making it easy to change plans and hop to and from the park a couple of times throughout the day.

Preparing to Hike Angels Landing Zion

If hiking Angels Landing is on your must-do list during your stay at the best Zion National Park resorts, these tips can help you enjoy a safe, memorable hike.

But if you don’t get a permit for Angels Landing Zion, or simply want to enjoy some other trails during your visit, don’t fret; Zion has plenty more trails to choose from!

Ready to start planning your next Zion Wildflower adventure? Now is a great time to book your next stay! Right now, when you book a stay for three or more nights before March 31, you’ll receive a 20 percent discount on your stay. Use code STAYWILD3 at checkout to take advantage of this deal!

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