Great Late Summer Day Hikes, Angel’s Landing, Zion National Park

Last October, I made the wise decision to spend four days in Zion National Park with two of my close friends from college. On our last day, we climbed 1500 feet above the canyon floor on one of Zion’s steepest ascents, Angel’s Landing. The trail starts gradually on switchbacks through a pine forest, soon entering a shaded section called Refrigerator Canyon. The grade increases rapidly, along with your heart rate, when you enter Walter’s Wiggle’s, a series of zigzags that leads to the first overlook. This is where the fun begins. The canyon wall extends out to a precarious perch, Angel’s Landing, which can only be reached by clambering up rock steps while holding on to a chain cable. Look down on either side of the narrow trail and you’ll spot the valley far below.

A California condor with wingspan over five feet gracefully glided directly above us, before landing on the leafless branches of a dead tree. We reached the top of the monolith, a flat rocky plateau, and looked at the ring of red canyon walls, taking in our last vistas of mighty Zion. I felt like the Road Runner, atop one of those elevated peaks, before Wile E. Coyote tries to blow him to smithereens. I looked down at the plunging cliffs and remarkably, spotted a rock climber, slowly making his way up.
You can read about all of our adventures at Go Magazine.