Zion National Park | Angel's Landing Aerials
Zion National Park is renowned for breathtaking views, and scenic hikes. It didn't take very much research to discover the hike to Angle's Landing, the most popular, and also one of the most dangerous hikes available in the area (between 8-15 people have fallen to their death over the 100 years the park has been open).
It is 5 miles round trip, and while the view at the top is certainly a tremendous reward for the strenuous trek, we read that it's more about the journey than the destination with this one. We cannot argue with that! We also read that it is not for the faint of heart, or anyone with a fear of heights. Fortunately, neither of us has a crazy fear of heights, so we didn't think twice before deciding on this particular hike while in Zion.
It's recommended to begin the hike first thing in the morning, but early mornings are never really our style. We shuttled into the park in mid afternoon, which gave us the added benefit of fewer people on the trail (albeit, we still had to share the narrow way with many a fellow traveler). The majority of the hike is not too strenuous and features a plethora of switchbacks as you ascend the canyon. However, the last portion to the peak almost makes you forget about the majority of the hike - where you didn't have the overwhelming feeling that you could fall to your death at any second.
There are sections that are very narrow with 1000-foot drops on either side. Remember how I said we don't have a fear of heights? Well that changed pretty quickly. We arrived at the first section of drop offs with chains to assist, faced our fears, and sat on a rock to take in the view - believing that we had finished the hike! I was unnerved to say the least, and a mild panic set in when I learned that we had just actually just started this portion. The remainder of the hike was more a mental challenge than a physical one.
It was exhilarating to say the least. But also quite unnerving. The high stakes made our nerves short, and Naz and I were not one another's biggest fans. We actually went our separate ways at one point because we were so livid with one another (me being all terrified and Naz being upset that I was just making things worse - all while he is flying the freaking drone... Not our best moment). But given the conditions around us, we realized it was in our best interest to make up and be a team, because the odds of falling of a cliff were higher than normal. We were also humbled to cross paths with a woman hiking the same trail with her two young sons, and they all seem unphased. We also passed a couple that did not use the chains at all and made the narrow, treacherous trail look effortless. Meanwhile, my heart was beating out of my chest and I had to continually remind myself to keep breathing (I did not like that couple very much.)
Alas, we joined the millions of people to have completed the hike and enjoy the awe-inspiring 360 view of the tremendous canyon below. Knowing so many people have completed the hike did not take the edge off of the experience. Not sure we would do this one again - but it was certainly an unforgettable experience!
If you are interested in going, here are two amazing tutorials with great information on logistics of the hike: