Utah July 11, 2015
9 Reasons Taking This Hike In Utah Is A Terrible Idea (And 5 Reasons You Should Do It Anyway)
Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park is one of Utah’s most famous hikes. And for good reason. The views are incredible. However, the hike isn’t for everyone. The Angel’s Landing trail starts at Scout’s Lookout, about 2 miles from the trailhead at the West Rim Trail.
1) You’re thinking like a tourist, not a hiker. Zion is a national park, full of tourists. It’s easy to forget that you’re in the wilderness. Park rangers can’t rescue you in a torrential downpour and they can’t just pluck you off the mountain if you fall and suffer a compound fracture -- that’s gonna take a helicopter and most of the day.
2) You’re afraid of heights. This is the most obvious reason to avoid Angel’s Landing. It’s a long way down, and a steep drop-off on both sides. Some people love looking over the edge into the abyss below. If you’re not one of them, skip the last bit of this hike and find a YouTube video from someone’s GoPro.
3) You’re wearing flip flops. Seriously? If I have to tell you why this is a bad idea, you shouldn’t be hiking any trail. Angel's Landing requires hiking boots or shoes, with double-knotted laces. Tripping while on a narrow sandstone ridge with a 1,200 foot drop on one side and an 800 foot drop on the other could be disastrous.
4) You’re really out of shape. Let’s have a moment of honesty here. If the last real exercise you got was walking to the mailbox and back (and you were winded), start with a less-strenuous hike. Because this is a LOT steeper than your driveway.
5) You’re a trailblazer. Maybe you’re too cool to stay on the trail but you should know that many of the park’s rescue operations have involved people who’ve fallen while navigating off-trail, or jumping from rock to rock. You won’t look so cool when two park rangers are carrying you back down the trail on a litter, will you?
6) You don’t have enough water. This is Southern Utah -- it’s hot and dry. The hike from the West Rim trailhead to Angel’s Landing is steep with mostly full sun exposure. Dehydration often causes weakness, confusion and dizziness. You’re gonna want to be at the top of your game to climb to 5,790 feet, aren’t you?
7) You’re an impatient jerk. Yes, you’re Mr. Expert Hiker. And it’s soooo annoying to have to wait behind all these tourists to get to the peak. But pushing your way past people is not only arrogant, it’s dangerous. The people in this photo are waiting their turn -- you can do it, too. If you can't, go find some other trail.
8) The weather is sketchy. Bad weather can come in quickly. If it rains while you’re up there, not only are you at risk for lightning strike but water quickly makes the rock super slick and high winds could knock you right over...the edge. The estimated out-and-back time is 4 hours, so if the forecast calls for rain, wait until another day.
9) You’d rather find a less crowded way up. For some people, Angel’s Landing is child’s play. Like I said, the hike isn’t for everyone.
While not everyone should hike Angel’s Landing, thousands do every year. Here are five of the best reasons to do it:
1) At the summit, you’ll enjoy an eagle-eye’s view of Zion canyon.
2) It’s fun. How often do you get the chance to traverse a trail like this?
3) There’s often a sense of community while hiking the Landing -- most people are friendly, patient and willing to help others out.
4) Peregrine falcons were once nearly extinct. You can see them from your lofty perch at the Angel’s Landing summit.
5) You get the satisfaction of knowing you did it. Lots of hikers turn back at Scout’s Lookout -- you forged ahead and made it up a trail many people don’t dare to hike.
Have you hiked Angel’s Landing? Tell me about in the comments below!