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Hiking Angels Landing at Zion National Park in southern Utah

Posted at 11:43 AM, Nov 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-17 13:43:01-05

SPRINGDALE, Utah — Many people consider Angels Landing one of the most dangerous hikes in the country, according to a sign in Zion National Park, 13 people have fallen to their death at this iconic hike since 2004.

This past spring two hikers died and the popularity of this hike has the National Parks Service proposing a paid permit lottery system that could be implemented in 2022.

But for some adventurers, this hike ranks as a bucket list item that requires hikers to climb 14,000 feet over a five-mile round trip that includes a final section where people need to navigate a narrow trail with steep drop-offs aided by chains that have been put in place for safety.

"We are high up it is no joke," said Adam Kavinuski who came to Zion from Boston. "It got a little dicey over there on the chains, people are coming up and going down, it is definitely the most unique thing I’ve ever done."

Most of the accidents have not occurred on the final 1.1-mile chain section from Scout Lookout to the top of Angels Landing as most of the accidents happened on both sides with people getting too close to the edge.

"It was a really cool hike," said Bobby Shaver who was also from Boston. "We have done Half Dome in the past in Yosemite and this is pretty comparable to that in terms of how dangerous it is."

Every hiker should make their own decision on whether or not to attempt to climb all the way to the top of Angels Landing.

Hikers should carry enough water for the hike, stay clear in adverse weather conditions and be respectful of other people as it takes patience to navigate this trail and wait for the right opportunity to pass other hikers on the chain section.

"There is a little bit of scrambling in there, but overall just waiting for people is the sketchiest part," said Shaver.

This is a magical hike for moderate hikers as well because the trail to Scout Lookout features a steep safe climb, followed by Refrigerator Canyon where hikers get a reprieve with a flat section that has plenty of shade and the final push is Walter's Wiggles a series of 21-switchbacks to reach Scout Lookout.

"The view up here is fantastic," said Shaver.

Zion has changed over the years when I was a kid we were able to drive into the park, now visitors are required to ride a shuttle because of the crowds this popular park draws.

Like other National Parks Zion is experiencing record crowds and in June 676,000 people visited the park breaking the monthly record from July of 2019 by almost 50,000 people.