Angels landing is the most famous hike at Zion National park, Utah and possibly of all the hikes in the National Park system. It is a 5 mile round trip, with an elevation gain of 1488 feet (454 meters). The reason this hike is so famous is that for the final 1/2 mile stretch the trail becomes very narrow with sheer 1000 feet drop offs either side. There are times when there are steep climbs and it can be incredibly nerve-racking. Along the worst parts of this trail is a metal chain to hold on to for additional safety and for peace of mind. The hike is recommended for people who have “average physical health” and who don’t have a fear of heights. I would say that I have above average physical health and so that part wasn’t an issue, the problem was the fact I am scared of heights.
“Not for the faint hearted, more for the die harded.”
When Jacob told me about the angels landing hike I really wanted to not only prove to myself that I was able to overcome my fear but also to get the experience.
It begins at the Grotto trail head, the initial bit is paved and relatively flat. It then gets progressively steeper until it reaches the strenuous switch backs. We found it nice to take regular breaks during this portion and enjoy the scenery. At the end of this section you arrive at Scout Look out. If you don’t feel able to continue on the Angels landing trail, this rest point has stunning views and many people choose to stop here, have food and head back down. Once we arrived at Scout Lookout I saw ahead to where the trail goes over the backbone of the mountain. It looked, to me, impossible.
At first I was gripping onto the metal chain for dear life and shaking so much. It crossed my mind many times that I should just turn back. I knew once we were back at camp I would regret it so I pushed on. I am very happy I did, because this hike was one of the best I have ever done.
It was relatively busy, and we had to stop at wide bits to allow people coming back the other way to pass. There were a few individuals who were being reckless by jumping down and going off the trail onto the cliff edge and this made me feel a bit uneasy and unsafe. I felt they sometimes were putting not only themselves in danger but also fellow hikers. However, this was only a small minority of people and most of the fellow hikers were friendly and safe! As it was so busy, we were with one group of people as we hiked up. This was a main positive of the hike for me. There was an essence of community, we were all supporting and encouraging each other. No one was complaining about someone going slow. It didn’t feel like I was hiking up with only Jacob, but like we were all one group of friends. Once at the top, the view was incredible you could see for miles a view of the canyon and it was breathtaking.
We ate our lunch a top of the rock, taking in all of our surroundings before heading back down. The way back was a lot quicker and I could sense a lot less tension and fear. We were walking with much more certainty and offering support for everyone coming in the opposite direction.
Arriving back at the Scout Look out was an amazing feeling. I had overcome my fears, shown physical strength and been surrounded by like minded people and humbling, calming nature. I felt like I could achieve anything I wanted to, I felt high off the experience. I couldn’t stop smiling and I felt very calm within myself. It was an amazing, breathtaking adventure.I am very grateful to have had the opportunity and fitness to complete it. I am so lucky to have been able to experience it with Jacob by my side, offering support, calming me down and making me feel invincible.
Anyone who is visiting Zion, I 100% recommend this hike. It is still my favourite hike and it changed my perspective. Before I would often run away from my fears, I wouldn’t attack them head on and this lead to me missing out on so many things. Now I believe that I can achieve anything I put my mind to and because of that, a whole new world has opened up.