Angels Landing (Zion National Park)
To the trailhead: Park at the visitor center and take the free shuttle to the Grotto stop. The well signed trailhead starts across the road from the tram stop.
Hike to Angels Landing in Zion National park
After crossing the Virgin River, the paved trail soon starts to switch back up the wall of the canyon. Views of the virgin river become available, but these are but a taste of the views to come. As we climbed steadily on this portion, we were continually impressed by the amount of work that must have gone into the trail.
It is best to get an early start on the trail, as the switchbacks are shaded during the morning but are directly exposed to afternoon sun.
After about a mile of hiking, the trail levels out for a bit as it travels through refrigerator canyon. This hidden slot between Angels Landing and the Cathedral Mountain. You will notice some maple trees enjoying the shady and cooler slot on your left, as well as some small caves and pockets in the sandstone on your right. The level trail is a nice break before the climbing resumes in earnest.
After emerging from refrigerator canyon, you will start to climb a series of switchbacks known as 'Walter's wiggles'. Again, this is a good opportunity to admire the trail making skills as you head up these switchbacks. After 1.8 miles of hiking, you will reach the top of the switchbacks and 'Scouts Lookout'. There is a port-a-john here, as well as some benches for resting. Many of the hikers turn around at this point, as the trail gets really interesting from this point on. To continue, find the signed trail junction to the Angels Landing (the West rim trail also branches off here).
The trail from this point includes a good bit of scrambling and exposure. There are some chains put in strategic places to help you with these. Many of the scrambles have huge exposure so focus on what you are doing instead of the drop off. This trail can get a bit crowded with people going up and coming down, so be patient and enjoy the views opening up as you wait. This final 0.4 miles is some of the most enjoyable hiking/scrambling anywhere.
At the end is your reward for all your hard work. You now enjoy unparalleled views of the big bend in the virgin river, the great white throne, and Zion canyon. I sure hope you brought your camera.
The return is enjoyable too, as the height and exposure gets magnified as you descend off of the peak.