In celebration of a 100 years of breathtaking views since America’s National Park Service was created in 1916, here is my story on the crowing glory of Utah – Zion National Park.
Zion is just absolutely enchanting! As we raised our eyes to the statuesque monolithic structures that nature spent two hundred million years carving and molding, only one thought dominated – spectacular!
Years of raging storms have pitted ice and snow against rocks to produce these wondrous structures, and the national park does a great job of keeping them in pristine condition for the world to experience in awe!
Angels Landing is one of the most exhilarating and dangerous hiking trails in the park system. A quick ride in the park shuttle service dropped us off at The Grotto. We crossed the Virgin River, walking across the bridge to reach the trailhead.
The hike itself is around 5 miles round trip on a tall and narrow strip of rock and sheer cliffs on all sides. It can take anywhere between three to five hours to complete. The trail can be visited at any time of the year; I would recommend starting early to avoid extreme heat during the summer, and dressing warm with shoes that have some traction for cold, snowy days.
If you’re thinking *well that doesn’t sound too bad* then I’m happy to tel you about the seemingly impossible last half mile of the trail – a near vertical ascent, with only a rusty chain on one side to hold on to, rising steeply around the edge of a 1000ft high cliff. And is thats not nerve-racking enough, hikers descend the same way down so don’t be surprised to see people climb over, around or under you!
Here is a stock photo of what this looks like because I was too busy holding on to dear life to actually click a picture.
For those who don’t want to cross this final exposed stretch, Scouts Landing is a vista point at the base of this cliff to enjoy some breathtaking views.
For someone who grew up super protected, this opportunity to be in the presence of a little bit of exhilaration and danger was a very welcome relief from my routine! After climbing over boulders, and ducking under branches (and sometimes people), we reached the top of Angels Landing – a mostly flat plateau with views spilling away in all directions.
On the way back, we heard talk of more than five fatalities reported on the trail; I for one was super glad to have known this only after having finished the hike! All the hype about danger aside, this hike was super fun, promises some amazing views, and is definitely totally worth it.
So throw on your hiking gear and shoes, pack a bottle of water (or two), throw caution to the air and hike up Angels Landing.
On that note, here is to centuries more of beautiful parks and breathtaking views! 🙂