In total, you’re looking at a 5.4 mile round trip hike from the Angel’s Landing trail head and back. When you plan your hike up Angel’s Landing, remember the first 2.5 miles are super misleading in terms of difficulty. Walter’s Wiggles, a series of 21 steep switchbacks, was by far the most challenging portion. All things considered, our group felt really accomplished when we arrived at Scout Lookout 2.5 miles into our trek. Especially given what we’d heard about Angel’s Landing.
Then we looked up and saw the rest of the hike.
My initial reaction? Yikes.
I’ve skydived from 15,000 feet over the coast of Australia and almost didn’t attempt the rest of the Angel’s Landing hike. There’s something about having to work for your near death experience that just doesn’t seem right. At least when you’re in a plane you just… jump. 🤷🏻♀️
My husband, Parker, was the only one who was unfazed. He eventually convinced us to hike the rest of the way to the top and it was well worth it. People of almost any skill level can hike the first 2.5 miles and still experience breathtakingly beautiful views. If you’re in it for the full experience, you won’t regret taking on the remaining ½ mile to the top.
How to Hike Angels Landing
When you visit Zion National Park make sure to add Angel’s Landing to your itinerary and use this guide to prepare for your trip!
Know Before You Go
We hiked Angel’s Landing back in April 2021 when shuttle ticket reservations were required. As of May 28, 2021, the park has discontinued the shuttle ticketing system and now operates on a first come first served basis, yay! That being said, always check before you go in case of new policies related to COVID-19 safety.
The most important item to note is that as of Apr 1, 2022, you are required to get a permit to hike Angel’s Landing.
If you’re only planning to hike to Scout Lookout, take in the sights, and head back, you aren’t required to obtain a permit.
Getting Your Permit
Permits to hike Angel’s Landing are issued through a lottery system and you’ll need to request one more than a month in advance. For reference, the lottery opens on the first day of each quarter (January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1). The permit request window is only open for three weeks before permits are issued during the last week of that month.
You will receive a confirmation email from recreation.gov with a copy of your permit. Download or print this before you go since you’ll be required to show it to a park ranger when asked!
This helpful video explains the permit process:
Packing For Your Hike
Hiking Angel’s Landing is arduous so you don’t want to be too ambitious with the amount of stuff you pack in your bag. Use my Zion National Park packing list to prepare for the ideal hiking experience!
Get to the Park EARLY
We stayed at an Airbnb right in Springdale so we were only a few miles drive from the park entrance. This was really convenient because finding parking can be a challenge. If you want immediate parking on site I’d recommend getting to the park no later than 8 am during busy season (April – September). If you’re planning an Angel’s Landing winter hike, you’ll be better off traffic-wise but keep an eye on the weather.
Get in line for the shuttle
Another thing to note about visiting in winter months is that the shuttle service may not be running. The shuttle typically runs from March through November. Check the shuttle schedule before you go to see if there are shuttles available from December – February.
Shuttles load and depart the Zion Canyon Visitor Center from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. MDT. The most popular place to begin your Angel’s Landing hike is at Shuttle Stop 6, the Grotto. This is the Angel’s Landing trail head where we started hiking.
Under the new permit system, you must be at the Grotto by the time printed on your permit, so plan your shuttle trip accordingly.
Check For Park Updates & Closures
Before you go, make sure to check the nps.gov website and NPS social media pages for recent park and trail closures or updates on safety protocol. Certain trails and areas of the park close for maintenance at different times during the year so double-checking that in advance is a must.
How Long Does it Take to Hike Angels Landing?
Plan for the Angel’s Landing round trip hike to take roughly 5 hours. We stopped in the middle for a 20-30 minute break at Scout Lookout. Starting from the Angels Landing trail head it took us about 2.5 hours to summit Angel’s Landing. I definitely wouldn’t consider any of us “expert” hikers. We saw people in all ranges of skill levels from intermediate to advanced. But keep in mind, some have called Angels Landing the scariest hike in America. And it also tops the list for 11 Deadliest Hikes In the U.S. So— If you’re a complete beginner or afraid of heights, check out these short, easy, and beautiful hikes for beginners in Zion first.
The best thing you can do is plan for your day to start early even if your permit time isn’t until later. If anything goes wrong or you miss a shuttle, give yourself a buffer to make it to the Angel’s Landing trail head on time.
Leave No Trace
This post is in honor of Earth Day 2022! I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how important it is to leave national parks better than when you arrived. National parks are here for our enjoyment and it’s our responsibility to preserve their beauty for future generations! Be a responsible park-goer and clean up after yourself and your group during your visit.
Be safe and have fun planning your hike up Angel’s Landing! Let me know about your hiking experience in the comments below!