Angel's landing hike is a classic hike in the Zion National Park and has been the most interesting hike to me so far. The Zion National Park is known for its incredible canyons and spectacular views; doing this hike and reaching the Angel's landing point only proved this point. Particularly in this case, I thought the journey was more interesting than the destination itself. Let me tell you why.
Our hike started along the 'West Rim Trail' at 'Grotto Trailhead' in the Zion's main canyon on a pleasant afternoon during the Thanksgiving weekend in November. It followed an innocuous looking paved path for about 2 miles to reach a point called 'Scout's Lookout.' So far, the hike was normal and the views were good. It took about an hour to leisurely reach there and relax a bit. At this point, we were already at about a 1000 ft elevation from the main canyon. It is at this point we had to decide if we wanted to leave the West Rim Trail to do the final hike to the Angel's Landing viewpoint.
The final part of the hike was walking on a narrow spine of mountain rock, sometimes less than 3 foot wide with more than 1000 ft drop into canyons on both sides, which achieves an elevation of 500 ft in just half a mile! The picture below was taken from the Scout's Lookout Point.
|Angel's Landing Hike|
We took a good look at the Angel's landing point, took a deep breath and decided to go. The height was scary, the rocks looked slippery, and the depth was deadly. Remember, we were already at an elevation of 1000 ft. from the main canyon below. Nevertheless, with a leap of faith, not in our hiking abilities but in God, we moved ahead. There were chains, guard-rails and carved steps which were supposed to help make the hike easier, but what actually helped me were prayers :D
|Carved steps on the path|
When I made it to the top, it was a great feeling, one of achievement and wonder for I made it to the top, of awe for the surroundings and of relief and gratitude for I survived :) I remember reading that few people died while doing the last part of the hike. It was scary, it was fun, and it was thrilling. There was adrenaline rush and there were spectacular views from the top. What else could one ask from a hike?
|View from the top on one side|
The sun was slowly settling down and we knew we had less than an hour before we could make it to the much safer concrete path downhill. So, we hurried and the hike down was much easier than the way up, more so because we knew we conquered it now :) It was getting dark by the time we were halfway through but then there was moonlight. For a brief 15-20 minutes, we unexpectedly experienced moonlight trekking and it was really good. Amidst the silent surroundings and a cool breeze, the brightness of the white light from the almost full-moon shone on everything around us, making the walk a rather pleasant and a memorable one. And we were back to where we started nearly 3.5 hours before, tired but thrilled to have done what we did. We looked back at the Angel's Landing Point from down below and left the place feeling proud.
So go ahead, dear friends, and do this hike on a pleasant winter day if you are not dizzy of heights. Promise yourself to be careful at each step to ensure a safe and enjoyable hike.