Angels Landing is one of the best locations in the park to view the canyon. Its stunning views have made it one of the more heavily used trails in the park.
The climb is not easy though, it requires an ascent of 1,500 feet (460m) in only 2.5 miles (4.3km) from the canyon floor through many switchbacks. At one point about halfway into the hike you will reach a location known as Walters Wiggles which is a series of 10 switchbacks in immediate succession. That accumulates for an elevation gain of about 600 feet (182 m) or more.
The upside to this strenuous hike is that the first 2 miles (3.3km) are paved in a very interesting stucco type pavement. I found myself thinking that it must have been a lot of work to pave this trail's first 2 full miles (3.3km) of walking.
After reaching the top of Walters Wiggles that is where the real hiking begins. Climbing Angels landing requires an ascent of a very narrow path with large cliff exposure on either side. The park has installed chains to hold on to but you should really be careful. A fall from this height would most certainly take your life.
The trail is quoted as a hike that will take you 4 hours. That is a very accurate timeline for anyone who does not have a lot of hiking experience.
We wanted to do something different and chose the East Mesa Trail. This little used trail crosses a mesa and takes you to Observation Pt. The hike is 6 miles R/T, there is some change in altitude but not like climbing from the canyon floor.
On this hike you'll have views to the pink cliffs by Cedar Breaks and then into Mystery Canyon. A little further on you start to look into the main canyon of Zion. The hike ends at Observation Pt, overlooking
Angel's Landing and other features of Zion Canyon.
Of note: The trailhead is easily accessible by 4WD, if you're taking a car stop where the road turns rocky. From that point on we encountered some deep mud and were glad to have our Jeep. You only need to walk about .2 of a mile to the trailhead from where you stop.
This is the "easy" way to Observ. Pt., still took some effort. I've not done the point from the other trail by Weeping Rock. That trail is 4 miles each way and a steeper climb, supposed to be much more scenic. I liked the solitude of not seeing anyone for the entire hike, both ways.
Located about 20 minutes from Zion, i didn't really know what to expect. The sand dunes were rather interesting in my opinion as they were actually pink! we watched as a bunch of people drove up, in and around the sand dunes on their 4x4's, looked like loads of fun. There is an entrance fee to the park but if all you want is a look then there is a parking area off to the left before you ever reach the entrance gate. From here you can park, walk up the small embankment and the out onto the dunes.
The hike took us to a slot canyon which means that the high canyon walls come together untill you're almost unable to walk over the path anymore. Able to touch both sides of the canyons by hand! It was quite spectaculor.
The path we took was a riverbed and was dried out because of the summer period, but be aware during other seasons, because you might get cought by a tidal wave because of heavy rain or water of melting glaciers.
We went for a nice hike by the name "My Way", which was selected by our guide. During this hike we noticed the capriousness of nature by all the horizontal and vertical shuffled lines in the rocks.
Differences in elevation, sunlight, water and temperature created "microenvioronments" like hanging gardens, forested side canyons and islolated mesas that lend to this diversity. It is a beautiful sight.
Colossal mass of rocks stand out as geological temples against the clear blue sky. Age-long streams of mineral waters have colourfully covered the faces of the mountains.
Zion, it's a fitting name for a solemn area where nature shows it's awe-inspiring shape as a supreme creator. Protected within Zion National Park's 593,1 square kilometres and esspecially this slot canyon hike is a spectacular cliff-and-canyon landscape and wilderness full of the unexpected.
On the road from Zion to Bryce you'll find an interesting rockformation. These red rocks are not fenced off in any way. It is a great photo point and there are a few wonderfull, but short, hikes. We expected to see little green men, yelling "we mean you no harm", at every corner. Welcome to Mars!
Zion is located in southern Utah- an area which receives little snowfall. But it does snow at times in Utah's Dixie, particularly in the higher elevations. In late November. there was a good deal of snow on the rock above the Zion Scenic Drive.
I enjoyed Zion in winter far more than in the summer. I find heat oppressive and nearly 100 degree temps are not ideal for hiking. The crowds and shuttle bus take some of the thrill out of it for me as well. In the winter, there are few visitors traveling beneat the canyon walls and bright blue sky. The shuttle bus ceases operation and those who choose to visit are free to drive the park road in its entirety.
On this November day, I only saw a couple of people at some of the early stops along the park road. After that, it was colorful walls, snow and solitude. The weather was a balmy 25 degreess, which was 40 degrees warmer than when I began the day near Bryce Canyon. Its quite a change from the heat and noise of summer.
This is a little used part of Zion N.P., in fact I've hiked it three times without seeing anyone else. The hike is down a wash that is quite interesing but not spectacular. What I like is the area and it is an opportunity to find some petrified wood and interesting rocks.
Note: you cannot remove anything from Zion N.P., including rocks! Collecting petrified wood outside the Park is allowed, just be reasonable so others can find some!
The entrance to this area is off Rt 9, West of Rockville at MM 20, this is a dirt road that you take. After entering the valley the road splits and you'll go left. Continue on this road and you will climb up a fairly steep rough part. Be Careful! At the top is a large area of slickrock that is neat to hike about and search for the pertrifed wood and rocks, you are not in the Park. Great views!
Continuing on the rough road will take you to a gate into Zion N.P. Enter the Park and follow the trail to the wash. Hiking down this will take you all the way to Coal pits wash. It's not strenuos and is very enjoyable. My friends commented on how quiet it is up here. Huge petrified logs are laying about and sticking out of the sides.
Visiting the lush Zion Canyon is always a great. But a few miles west of the entrance is a pretty neat desert hike. You can make this a 2 day backpack or just go enjoy the scenery on a shorter day hike.
I've not gone all the way in, usually make it about 1 1/2 hrs and turn around.
You'll see the parking area along RT 9 just west of Rockville, on the right. Parking has never been a problem, if it's muddy you can park just off the hiway.
The trail is really flat and at worst could be muddy. Please stay on the trail as the crust is very delicate. You will eventually come to a split in the wash. Off to the right is Scoggins Wash, a very pretty alternative. Continuing up Coal Pits you'll come to a rocky area with some small waterfalls.
Pick up one of the Zion guides to hiking and you'll see this hike as well as Huber Wash and the Chinle Trail.
On your way to Zion NP from Las Vegas, you will probably drive through St. George, UT. It appears to be a charming little town. We stopped to have lunch here, but we didn't have much time to explore the town since we wanted to get to Zion
I don't know why I didn't enjoy Zion more during my first visit. Perhaps it was the heat and the crowds. On this last day of November its a balmy 25 degrees (that's fahrenheit), the crowds are gone, the shuttle is closed to operations and the park road remains open to the few tourists that choose to sightsee during this period of the year. This is Zion in solitude and the phrase "heaven on earth" has never rang so true.
The view of Zion Canyon, as seen from the Zion Overlook Trail. After driving along the winding entrance road past colorful high cliff walls, the expansive view of the lush canyon floor is a spectacular sight.
It's 6 a.m and I'm waiting for the sun to rise because I don't want to travel through the Zion Mt. Carmel tunnel in the dark. Its a nice morning with a slight chill in the air. The dawn is slowly breaking over the sandstone pillars outside the balcony where I sit.
The magic of some moments cannot be captured on film or even in words. The serenity of a morning such as this is one of them. The stillness interrupted only by the chirping of early rising birds, who are as eager as I am for the day to begin. The slight whisper of the wind as it blows through the canyon, dew on the grass coming to light as the day emerges are all captured in my mind. The memory of standing on shifting wooden planks on the lodge balcony waiting to hit the road for a new day's adventure.
Zion's rock alcoves and running water provide for greenery in unexpected locations. In several areas, including near Emerald Pools and Weeping Rock, you will find hanging gardens growing in the summertime (not illustrated too well by this wintry photo), nurtured by the springs. These hidden garden locations are yet another reason why Zion is considered paradise of earth