Angel's Landing, Zion National Park
December 2005

Zion Canyon

During the busy work months of October and November, that we didn't get a chance to take many breaks. As soon as our Fall grades were submitted, we knew it was time for a little rest and relaxation.

The Christmas Spirit

We participated in a couple holiday activities with our fellow snowbird friends at the RV park. After dinner at a Mexican grill, Cafe Rio, in St. George, our group went to the Tuacahn Amphitheater and Center for the Arts to see a Christmas show. It was alright but overall lacked a bit of continuity and polish; we enjoyed attending a Branson-style Christmas show in nearby Springdale even more. The Bumbleberry Theatre has a live Christmas show featuring classic as well as popular music for the holiday season. It was exactly what we needed to get into the Christmas spirit.


Angel's Landing Hike

Hike to Angel's Landing Our second break was a day hike to Angel's Landing in Zion National Park. As we entered Zion canyon, we paid for another National Park Pass. It's a great value and super way to support the park system.

Like most of the Zion canyon hikes, this is a strenuous, five mile hike up the canyon wall. The ascent totals 1488 feet. The hike begins at the Grotto parking lot, crosses a footbridge over the Virgin river, and follows the West Rim Trail. It was a cool day, but it didn't take long for us to warm up. After a quarter mile, we both took off and stowed the jackets.


Angel's hikeAfter a series of steep switchbacks, we entered a beautiful narrow canyon known as Refrigerator Canyon. The trail followed a dry creek into the side canyon. A cool, comfortable breeze blew through making us aware that in other seasons, this would be a refreshing, shaded section of the hike and is probably where the name "refrigerator" originated. Many song birds played in the canyon trees.

Refrigerator CanyonRefrigerator CanyonRefrigerator Canyon Larry

At the end of Refrigerator Canyon, we hooked to the right and started up another series of even steeper switchbacks known as Walter's Wiggles. This brought us out to a high crest called Scout Lookout. These steep switchbacks were a tightly engineered marvel. Cut right out of the canyon wall, we felt like we were floating above the canyon (Photo below).

Walter's Wiggles

Here we found a warning sign for the entrance to Angel's Landing Trail section. It indicated that the hike would get very dangerous and difficult. Annette was fine until she encountered a fellow hiker stopped at this crest who related his scary experience near the top.

Angel's Landing chainThe last half mile of the hike involved sections where you had to hold onto a chain and climb along a narrow sandstone trail. Because Annette is short, she had trouble in some of the steeper areas. Before long, she decided to play this smart and safe and turn back.

Angels LandingAngel view

Larry climbed on up the steep section to reach another "pause point" that preceded the final steep climb to the Angel's landing perch, so named because someone once said "only angels would be able to reach that place" (Above left photo). But now it is one of the popular hikes at Zion, but it is not for anyone wary of heights.

Larry found that another twenty minutes would be needed to scale the last section, and decided to save that for the next time . . . really he / we will do that some time! So today, neither one of us quite reached the top. Between the narrow ledge, the steep climb, and the admonitions of a rattled younger hiker, we decided it was time to quit this day. You can see the sharp drop offs in the photo (Above right).

Annette and Larry Angel's Landing

After the hike, we enjoyed a quiet drive through the rest of Zion canyon. In the summer this area is closed to cars and visitors ride into the park via an outstanding bus shuttle system.

We took a couple other late afternoon drives and walks in the days leading up to our holiday vacation including an exploration of an area near Rockville and Eagle Crags.

Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 1/06.