Angels Landing, The Grotto Trailhead, Zion National Park, Utah
Angels Landing - 5.0 miles
The Grotto Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||5.0 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||4,320' - 5,808'|
|Elevation Change:||+1,488' net elevation gain|
Angels Landing - 5.0 Miles Round-Trip
Angels Landing is one of Zion National Park's most recognizable geologic formations. It rises 1500' from the Zion Canyon floor and Virgin River, which wraps around its base.
This iconic trail is strenuous and not for the faint of heart: the final half mile scrambles up an exposed ridge with perilous drop-offs. Children and those fearful of heights are discouraged from attempting the summit:
The trail leads over the Virgin River and begins a relentless two mile climb on long, rough-pour switchbacks etched into the canyon wall. The rapid elevation gain offers terrific perspective on the canyon's verticality.
The trail abruptly levels through Refrigerator Canyon, a narrow slot with perennial shade. Travel intensifies at Walter's Wiggles, an (in)famous set of 21 steep, tightly-wound switchbacks.
Walter's Wiggles spill out onto Scout Lookout, a small bluff over the Virgin River that physically connects to Angels Landing by way of a narrow fin. The West Rim Trail, which leads to Cabin Spring and other northern points, splits off into the backcountry from Scout Lookout.
The final half mile runs atop Angels Landing's steep, rugged fin. Chains have been installed for support, but proactive caution is a must. High traffic in both directions is common, and may compound the difficulty. A very early start will help avoid crowds and provide more space between you and other hikers.
The summit has limited room but offers unparalleled views across Zion Canyon. While a map isn't necessary for this hike, it will help identify many points of interest. The return scramble to Scouts Landing is equally precarious, and should be taken with the same caution and care.
- N37 15.566 W112 57.081 — The Grotto Trailhead
- An early morning start is advisable, as this popular destination is busy throughout the day. The final approach is more easily tackled with less traffic. Turn back immediately if you see or hear lightning.
- This hike should not be attempted when any moisture is present on the Angels Landing Trail, or when there's any threat of a storm (the summit is subject to direct lightning strikes).
- Parents should exercise extreme caution with children.
- Walter's Wiggle's were carved out in 1926.
Camping and Backpacking Information
Permits are required for all overnight backpacking trips in Zion National Park. Permits are available at both Visitor Centers the day of or day before your trip. Permits are limited.
- $15: 1-2 people
- $20: 3-7 people
- $25: 8-12 people
Permits may also be reserved up to 3 months in advance through the online reservation system. A $5 non-refundable fee + an additional fee determined by the size of your group is required when using the online reservation system. Click here to reserve.
- Camp only in designated sites.
- Fires are not permitted at backcountry campsites or within the backcountry in Zion National Park.
- Desert water sources are scarce and fragile. Do not bathe or wash dishes in creeks or pools.
Rules and Regulations
- There's a $30 fee per vehicle to enter Zion National Park (defined as private passenger cars with 15 people or less). Passes are good for 7 consecutive days.
- $25 per motorcycle.
- $15 per person (walk or bike).
- Dogs are not permitted on trails in Zion National Park.
Directions to Trailhead
Take the Zion Canyon Shuttle to the Grotto Trailhead and Picnic Area.
Zion Canyon Visitor Center
Closed: December 25
Spring: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Summer: 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Fall: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Winter: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Backcountry Info, Camping & Permits Desk (including camping in the Narrows)