Angel’s Landing: Hiking Zion National Park

Since 2004, six people have died falling from the cliffs on this route.

“Your safety is in your hands,” the voice recording warns ominously as Zion National Park’s bus pulls into the trailhead parking lot.  A disjointed image – tumbling flesh, clattering rocks, spirals of vision broken by pain – haunts me.  I’m not confident on my toes and have never tested my fear of falling off objects by hiking along a ledge 1,488 feet (454 metres) high with a questionably-secured metal chain in one hand and a camera in the other.

But in the recommended Youtube video that brought us here, octogenarians and mothers with babes at the breast were crawling up, all smiles.  Thus fueled by one of the weaker Traveler’s excuses – Everybody else is doing it – I bite my lip and start walking.

Angel's Landing, Zion National Park

The 21 switchbacks – or goat tracks, as my Kiwi boyfriend calls them – of Walter’s Wiggles inspire a staggering side-ache before we even reach the steeper ascent. Photo by Hadyn Fitzpatrick.

Angel's Landing, Zion National Park

From Scout Lookout, the trail juts vertically over uneven surfaces and between sharp drop-offs. This is the last .5 mile of the 2.4 mile trail; it is the stopping point for more than a few wary hikers.

Angel's Landing, Zion National Park

Straight ahead, boyfriend Hadyn focuses on his footwork and not the distant, looming summit.

Angel's Landing, Zion National Park

Beginning our trek in the early a.m., we miss the heavy afternoon crowds that make climbs  like this even more terrifying. Photo by Hadyn Fitzpatrick.

Angle's Landing, Zion National Park

Wind and hungry California Condors add to my tentative progress.

Angel's Landing, Zion National Park

Heaven must be there… Cut in the rock in 1926, Angel’s Landing was named for the ethereal view we lucky mortals witness at the top.

Next stop on our Southwest American road trip: Las Vegas, Nevada and the Hoover Dam

Previous stops: Zion National Park

5 responses to “Angel’s Landing: Hiking Zion National Park

  1. Kelli! Just wanted to drop by and say hello 🙂 Looks like you’re having tons of fun in your travels. Awesome to see that! Great job on your blog–it’s fantastic! Oh and that photo of you standing on that ledge made my palms sweat. You’re very brave!

    • Thanks so much, Sarah, and hello! How have you been? Glad you enjoyed the blog- I’m not normally that brave, but travelling with three other adventurous climbers, I felt left out on the safer path….

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