From the Coral Pink Sand Dunes we went onwards to Zion National Park! We planned to hike the famous Angels Landing at Zion. Due to the steep climbs about a handful of people have fallen off the cliff during the final 1.1 mile section of the hike (Don’t worry Nana, we were very careful and did not fall!)

This was Quan’s first visit to Zion National Park and she was overwhelmed with the beauty of the park. Everywhere you look the park is “…dazzling with vermillion, orange, pink, and white—all scintillating in the burning sunlight with an intensity not comprehensible to those who have never had the good fortune to breathe this lambent air amidst the overwhelming profusion of color.” – Frederick Dellenbaugh (one of the first American painters of Zion National Park)​.​​

We arrived at the visitor center around 12:45 where a shuttle takes you to the start of the Angels Landing hike, which is located at The Grotto Trailhead, stop # 6 on the shuttle bus and about a 10 minute ride from the visitor center.  The Shuttle at Zion National Park run every five minutes. Even if you don’t like to hike, we would reccomend coming to view the park via the many stops on the park shuttle. In this aerial photo we took from up top, you can see the winding roads traveled by the Zion Park shuttles. The park is so expansive you will be treated to majestic views no matter the vantage point:

This aerial photo taken from the top of Angels Landing shows the winding roads traveled by the Zion National Park shuttle

As we started our hike at 1:00, we were just in time for the hottest part of the day with temperatures approaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius).  The trail starts along a river and slowly winds its way up the first mile on a paved pathway. For those that are not avid hikers, there is a lookout point at about a mile that has breathtaking view of the park:

The second mile includes a series of steep switch backs that get progressively steeper and tighter. The path along this section is paved and still relatively accessible for the majority of hikers. The trail hugs some really unique rock formations:

The final half mile is what makes this hike great, thin ridges with 1000+ foot drops on both sides.  There are chains to hold onto and use to pull up as the final half mile is the steepest, this section took us an hour.  The views become increasingly inspiring as you climb, this is one of the greatest hikes anywhere.  Here is a short video from one of the easier sections, we had the camera put away for the more dangerous portions for safety:

There are several false summit along the way, this one was one of our favorites:

Here is a video of the views from the false summit high above Zion National Park:

The view at the top is incredible as well especially as the sun begins to set and the colors are changing.  Here are a few of our favorites:

Overall the hike is 5 miles roundtrip and rises 1400 feet in elevation.  It took us 5 hours.  While everyone speaks of the greater challenge of descending the chained section of the trail we found it much easier than the climb.  We left exhausted, dehydrated and very inspired as you can see here:

If you’re ever in Southern Utah, this is a hike that can’t be missed, our only recommendation is to start early in the day before it gets too hot. Quan forgot to drink enough water on the descent which resulted in an evening with a migraine, chills, and not being able to keep dinner down. Luckily a good night’s sleep made her good as new by the next morning!